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THE main purpose which I have had in view in 
writing this book has been to present an account 
of Greek philosophy which, within strict limits of 
brevity, shall be at once authentic and interesting 
authentic, as being based on the original works 
themselves, and not on any secondary sources ; 
interesting, as presenting to the ordinary English 
reader, in language freed as far as possible from 
technicality and abstruseness, the great thoughts 
of the greatest men of antiquity on questions of 
permanent significance and value. There has been 
no attempt to shirk the really philosophic problems 
which these men tried in their day to solve ; but I 
have endeavoured to show, by a sympathetic treat 
ment of them, that these problems were no mere 
wars of words, but that in fact the philosophers of 
twenty-four centuries ago were dealing with exactly 
similar difficulties as to the bases of belief and of 


right action as, under different forms, beset thoughtful 

men and women to-day. 

In the general treatment of the subject, I have 
followed in the main the order, and drawn chiefly 
on the selection of passages, in Ritter and Preller s 
Historia Philosophiae Graecae. It is hoped that in 
this way the little book may be found useful at the 
universities, as a running commentary on that ex 
cellent work ; and the better to aid students in the 
use of it for that purpose, the corresponding sections 
in Ritter and Preller are indicated by the figures in 
the margin. 

In the sections on Plato, and occasionally else 
where, I have drawn to some extent, by the kind 
permission of the Delegates of the Clarendon Press 
and his own, on Professor Jowett s great commentary 

and translation. 






i. Thales. ... j 

II. Anaximander . . - 


t - ill. Anaximenes ... I4 

j>" IV. Heraclitus ... x r 



I. Xenophanes .... 3I 

/ II. Parmenides ... 

V. THE ELEATICS (concluded} 

in. Zeno ..... 42 

iv. Melissus 



I. Anaxagoras ... c 2 

VII. THE ATOMISTS (continued} 

II. Empedocles .... 5 8 

VIII. THE ATOMISTS (concluded} 

in. Leucippus and Democritus . 74 





I. Protagoras 8 5 

X. THE SOPHISTS (concluded} 

II. Gorgias . 9 2 

XII. SOCRATES (concluded} . 


I. Aristippus and the Cyrenaics . .124 
II. Antisthenes and the Cynics . 128 

in. Euclides and the Megarics . . I3 2 

XIV. PLATO : 34 

XV. PLATO (continued} . .146 

XVI. PLATO (continued} . ! 54 
XVII. PLATO (concluded} 

XIX. ARISTOTLE (continued} 

XX. ARISTOTLE (concluded} *99 


INDEX 2 45 



I. THALES. For several centuries prior to the 
great Persian invasions of Greece, perhaps the very 
greatest and wealthiest city of the Greek world was 
Miletus. Situate about the centre of the Ionian coasts 
of Asia Minor, with four magnificent harbours and 
a strongly defensible position, it gathered to itself 
much of the great overland trade, which has flowed 
for thousands of years eastward and westward 
between India and the Mediterranean ; while by its 
great fleets it created a new world of its own along 
the Black Sea coast. Its colonies there were so 
numerous that Miletus was named Mother of Eighty 
Cities. From Abydus on the Bosphorus, past 
Sinope, and so onward to the Crimea and the Don, 
and thence round to Thrace, a busy community of 
colonies, mining, manufacturing, ship-building, corn- 
raising, owned Miletus for their mother -city. Its 



marts must therefore have been crowded with 
merchants of every country from India to Spain, 
from Arabia to Russia ; the riches and the wonders 
of every clime must have become familiar to its 
inhabitants. And fitly enough, therefore, in this city 
was born the first notable Greek geographer, the 
first constructor of a map, the first observer of natural 
and other curiosities, the first recorder of varieties of 
custom among various communities, the first specu 
lator on the causes of strange phenomena, Heca- 
taeus. His work is in great part lost, but we know 
a good deal about it from the frequent references 
to him and it in the work of his rival and follower, 

The city naturally held a leading place politically 
as well as commercially. Empire in our sense was 
alien to the instincts of the Greek race ; but Miletus 
was for centuries recognised as the foremost member 
of a great commercial and political league, the political 
character of the league becoming more defined, as 
first the Lydian and then the Persian monarchy 
became an aggressive neighbour on its borders. 
8 It was in this active, prosperous, enterprising 
state, and at the period of its highest activity, that 
Thales, statesman, practical engineer, mathematician, 
philosopher, flourished. Without attempting to fix 
his date too closely, we may take it that he was a 
leading man in Miletus for the greater part of the 


first half of the sixth century before Christ. We 
hear of an eclipse predicted by him, of the course of 
a river usefully changed, of shrewd and profitable 
handling of the market, of wise advice in the 
general councils of the league. He seems to have 
been at once a student of mathematics and an 
observer of nature, and withal something having 
analogy with both, an inquirer or speculator into 
the origin of things. To us nowadays this suggests 
a student of geology, or physiography, or some 
such branch of physical science ; to Thales it pro 
bably rather suggested a theoretical inquiry into 
the simplest thinkable aspect of things as existing. 
" Under what form known to us," he would seem to 
have asked, " may we assume an identity in all 
known things, so as best to cover or render explic 
able the things as we know them ?" The beginning 
of things (for it was thus he described this assumed 
identity) was not conceived by him as something 
which was long ages before, and which had ceased 
to be ; rather it meant the reality of things now. 
Thales then was the putter of a question, which 
had not been asked expressly before, but which has 
never ceased to be asked since. He was also the 
formulator of a new meaning for a word ; the word 
beginning (ap^rf) got the meaning of * underlying 
reality and so of * ending as well. In short, he so 
dealt with a word, on the surface of it implying 


time, as to eliminate the idea of time, and suggest 
a method of looking at the world, more profound 
and far-reaching than had been before imagined. 1 

It is interesting to find that the man who was thus 
the first philosopher, the first observer who took a 
metaphysical, non-temporal, analytical view of the 
world, and so became the predecessor of all those 
votaries of other-world ways of thinking, whether 
as academic idealist, or budge doctor of the Stoic 
fur, or Christian ascetic or what not, whose ways are 
such a puzzle to the hard-headed practical man/ was 
himself one of the shrewdest men of his day, so shrewd 
that by common consent he was placed foremost in 
antiquity among the Seven Sages, or seven shrewd 
men, whose practical wisdom became a world s 
tradition, enshrined in anecdote and crystallised in 

9 The chief record that we possess of the philo 
sophic teaching of Thales is contained in an interest 
ing notice of earlier philosophies by Aristotle, the 
main part of which as regards Thales runs as follows : 
"The early philosophers as a rule formulated the 
originative principle (/>%??) of all things under some 
material expression. By the originative principle or 
element of things they meant that of which all 

1 By some authorities it is stated that Anaximander, the second 
philosopher of this school, was the first to use the word aprf in the 
philosophic sense. Whether this be so or not, Thales certainly had the 


existing things are composed, that which determines 
their coming into being, and into which they pass 
on ceasing to be. Where these philosophers differed 
from each other was simply in the answer which they 
gave to the question what was the nature of this 
principle, the differences of view among them applying 
both to the number, and to the character, of the sup 
posed element or elements. 

"Thales, the pioneer of this philosophy, main 
tained that Water was the originative principle of all 
things. It was doubtless in this sense that he said 
that the earth rested on water. What suggested the 
conception to him may have been such facts of 
observation, as that all forms of substance which 
promote life are moist, that heat itself seems to 
be conditioned by moisture, that the life-producing 
seed in all creatures is moist, and so on." 

Other characteristics of water, it is elsewhere sug 
gested, may have been in Thales mind, such as its 
readiness to take various shapes, its convertibility 
from water into vapour or ice, its ready mixture 
with other substances, and so forth. What we have 
chiefly to note is, that the more unscientific this theory 
about the universe may strike us as being, the more 
completely out of accord with facts now familiar to 
everybody, the more striking is it as marking a new 
mood of mind, in which unity, though only very 
partially suggested or discoverable by the senses, is 


preferred to that infinite and indefinite variety and 
difference which the senses give us at every moment. 
There is here the germ of a new aspiration, of a deter 
mination not to rest in the merely momentary and 
different, but at least to try, even against the apparent 
evidence of the senses, for something more perma 
nently intelligible. As a first suggestion of what this 
permanent underlying reality may be, Water might 
very well pass. It is probable that even to Thales 
himself it was only a symbol, like the figure in a 
mathematical proposition, representing by the first 
passable physical phenomenon which came to hand, 
that ideal reality underlying all change, which is at 
once the beginning, the middle, and the end of all. 
That he did not mean Water, in the ordinary prosaic 
sense, to be identical with this, is suggested by some 
10 other sayings of his. "Thales," says Aristotle else 
where, " thought the whole universe was full of gods." 
" All things," he is recorded as saying, " have a soul 
in them, in virtue of which they move other things, 
and are themselves moved, even as the magnet, by 
virtue of its life or soul, moves the iron." Without 
pushing these fragmentary utterances too far, we may 
well conclude that whether Thales spoke of the soul of 
the universe and its divine indwelling powers, or gods, 
or of water as the origin of things, he was only vaguely 
symbolising in different ways an idea as yet formless 
and void, like the primeval chaos, but nevertheless, 


like it, containing within it a promise and a potency 
of greater life hereafter. 

II. ANAXIMANDER. Our information with respect 
to thinkers so remote as these men is too scanty 
and too fragmentary, to enable us to say in what 
manner or degree they influenced each other. We 
cannot say for certain that any one of them was 
pupil or antagonist of another. They appear each 
of them, one might say for a moment only, from 
amidst the darkness of antiquity ; a few sayings of 
theirs we catch vaguely across the void, and then 
they disappear. There is not, consequently, any 
very distinct progression or continuity observable 
among them, and so far therefore one has to confess 
that the title School of Miletus is a misnomer. 
We have already quoted the words of Aristotle in 
which he classes the Ionic philosophers together, as 
all of them giving a material aspect of some kind to 
the originative principle of the universe (see above, 
p. 4). But while this is a characteristic observable 
in some of them, it is not so obviously discoverable 
in the second of their number, Anaximander. 

This philosopher is said to have been younger by 11 
one generation than Thales, but to have been inti 
mate with him. He, like Thales, was a native of 
Miletus, and while we do not hear of him as a person, 
like Thales, of political eminence and activity, he was 
certainly the equal, if not the superior, of Thales in 


mathematical and scientific ability. He is said to have 
either invented or at least made known to Greece 
the construction of the sun-dial. He was associated 
with Hecataeus in the construction of the earliest 
geographical charts or maps ; he devoted himself 
with some success to the science of astronomy. His 
familiarity with the abstractions of mathematics per 
haps accounts for the more abstract form, in which he 
expressed his idea of the principle of all things. 
21 To Anaximander this principle was, as he expressed 
it, the infinite^ not water nor any other of the so-called 
elements, but a different thing from any of them, some 
thing hardly namable, out of whose formlessness the 
heavens and all the worlds in them came to be. And by 
necessity into that same infinite or indefinite existence, 
out of which they originally emerged, did every created 
thing return. Thus, as he poetically expressed it, 
" Time brought its revenges, and for the wrong-doing 
of existence all things paid the penalty of death." 

The momentary resting-place of Thales on the 
confines of the familiar world of things, in his formu 
lation of Water as the principle of existence, is thus 
immediately removed. We get, as it were, to the 
earliest conception of things as we find it in 
Genesis ; before the heavens were, or earth, or the 
waters under the earth, or light, or sun, or moon, or 
grass, or the beast of the field, when the " earth was 
without form, and void, and darkness was upon the 


face of the deep." Only, be it observed, that while 
in the primitive Biblical idea this formless void 
precedes in time an ordered universe, in Anaxi- 
mander s conception this formless infinitude is always 
here, is in fact the only reality which ever is here, 
something without beginning or ending, underlying 
all, enwrapping all, governing all. 

~~^ro~~TfToHern criticism this may seem to be little 
better than verbiage, having, perhaps, some possi 
bilities of poetic treatment, but certainly very un 
satisfactory if regarded as science. But to this we 
have to reply that one is not called upon to regard 
it as science. Behind science, as much to-day 
when our knowledge of the details of phenomena 
is so enormously increased, as in the times when 
science had hardly begun, there lies a world of 
mystery which we cannot pierce, and yet which we 
are compelled to assume. No scientific treatise can 
begin without assuming Matter and Force as data, 
and however much we may have learned about the 
relations of forces and the affinities of things, Matter 
and Force as such remain very much the same dim 
infinities, that the originative Infinite was to 

It is to be noted, however, that while modern 
science assumes necessarily two correlative data or 
originative principles, Force, namely, as well as 
Matter, Anaximander seems to have been content 


with the formulation of but one ; and perhaps it 
is just here that a kinship still remains between him 
and Thales and other philosophers of the school. He, 
no more than they, seems to have definitely raised the 
question, How are we to account for, or formulate, 
the principle of difference or change ? What is it that 
causes things to come into being out of, or recalls them 
back from being into, the infinite void ? It is to be 
confessed, however, that our accounts on this point 
are somewhat conflicting. One authority actually 
says that he formulated motion as eternal also. So 
far as he attempted to grasp the idea of difference 
in relation to that of unity, he seems to have regarded 
the principle of change or difference as inhering in 
13 the infinite itself. Aristotle in this connection con 
trasts his doctrine with that of Anaxagoras, who 
formulated two principles of existence Matter and 
Mind (see below, p. 54). Anaximander, he points 
out, found all he wanted in the one. 

As a mathematician Anaximander must have 
been familiar in various aspects with the functions of 
the Infinite or Indefinable in the organisation of 
thought. To the student of Euclid, for example, 
the impossibility of adequately defining any of the 
fundamental elements of the science of geometry 
the point, the line, the surface is a familiar fact. In 
so far as a science of geometry is possible at all, the 
exactness, which is its essential characteristic, is only 


attainable by starting from data which are in them 
selves impossible, as of a point which has no magni 
tude, of a line which has no breadth, of a surface 
which has no thickness. So in the science of abstract 
number the fundamental assumptions, as that i = I, 
x=x> etc., are contradicted by every fact of experi 
ence, for in the world as we know it, absolute equality 
is simply impossible to discover ; and yet these funda 
mental conceptions are in their development most 
powerful instruments for the extension of man s com 
mand over his own experiences. Their completeness of 
abstraction from the accidents of experience, from the 
differences, qualifications, variations which contribute 
so largely to the personal interests of life, this it is 
which makes the abstract sciences demonstrative, 
exact, and universally applicable. In so far, therefore, 
as we are permitted to grasp the conception of a per 
fectly abstract existence prior to, and underlying, and 
enclosing, all separate existences, so far also do we 
get to a conception which is demonstrative, exact, 
and universally applicable throughout the whole 
world of knowable objects. 

Such a conception, however, by its absolute 
emptiness of content, does not afford any means in 
itself of progression ; somehow and somewhere a 
principle of movement, of development, of concrete 
reality, must be found or assumed, to link this ultimate 
abstraction of existence to the multifarious phenomena 


of existence as known. And it was, perhaps, because 
Anaximander failed to work out this aspect of the 
question, that in the subsequent leaders of the school 
movement, rather than mere existence, was the principle 
chiefly insisted upon. 

Before passing, however, to these successors of 
Anaximander, some opinions of his which we have 
not perhaps the means of satisfactorily correlating 
with his general conception, but which are not 
without their individual interest, may here be noted. 
14 The word husk or bark (</>Xoto9) seems to have 
been a favourite one with him, as implying and 
depicting a conception of interior and necessary 
development in things. Thus he seems to have 
postulated an inherent tendency or law in the infinite, 
which compelled it to develop contrary characters, 
as hot and cold, dry and moist. In consequence of 
this fundamental tendency an envelope of fire, he 
says, came into being, encircling another envelope 
of air, which latter in turn enveloped the sphere 
of earth, each being like the husk of the other, 
or like the bark which encloses the tree. This 
concentric system he conceives as having in some 
way been parted up into various systems, represented 
by the sun, the moon, the stars, and the earth. The 
last he figured as hanging in space, and deriving its 
stability from the inherent and perfect balance or 
relation of its parts. 


Then, again, as to the origin of man, he seems to 16 
have in like manner taught a theory of development 
from lower forms of life. In his view the first living 
creatures must have come into being in moisture 
(thus recalling the theory of Thales). As time went 
on, and these forms of life reached their fuller possi 
bilities, they came to be transferred to the dry land, 
casting off their old nature like a husk or bark. 
More particularly he insists that man must have 
developed out of other and lower forms of life, 
because of his exceptional need, under present con 
ditions, of care and nursing in his earlier years. 
Had he come into being at once as a human creature 
he could never have survived. 

The analogies of these theories with modern 
speculations are obvious and interesting. But with 
out enlarging on these, one has only to say in con 
clusion that, suggestive and interesting as many of 
these poor fragments, these disjecti membra poeta, 
are individually, they leave us more and more im 
pressed with a sense of incompleteness in our know 
ledge of Anaximander s theory as a whole. It may 
be that as a consistent and perfected system the 
theory never was worked out ; it may be that it never 
was properly understood. 



17 III. ANAXIMENES. This philosopher was also a 
native of Miletus, and is said to have been a hearer 
or pupil of Anaximander. As we have said, the 

19 tendency of the later members of the school was 
towards emphasising the motive side of the supposed 
underlying principle of nature, and accordingly 
Anaximenes chose Air as the element which best 

18 represented or symbolised that principle. Its fluidity, 
readiness of movement, wide extension, and absolute 
neutrality of character as regards colour, taste, smell, 
form, etc., were obvious suggestions. The breath also, 
whose very name to the ancients implied an identity 
with the life or soul, was nothing but air ; and the 
identification of Air with Life supplied just that prin 
ciple of productiveness and movement, which was felt 

20 to be necessary in the primal element of being. The 
process of existence, then, he conceived as consisting 
in a certain concentration of this diffused life-giving 
element into more or less solidified forms, and the 


ultimate separation and expansion of these back into 
the formless air again. The contrary forces previously 
used by Anaximander heat and cold, drought and 
moisture are with Anaximenes also the agencies 
which institute these changes. 

This is pretty nearly all that we know of 
Anaximenes. So far as the few known facts reveal 
him, we can hardly say that except as supplying a 
step towards the completer development of the motive 22 
idea in being, he greatly adds to the chain of pro 
gressive thought. 

IV. HERACLITUS. Although not a native of 
Miletus, but of Ephesus, Heraclitus, both by his 
nationality as an Ionian and by his position in the 
development of philosophic conceptions, falls naturally 
to be classed with the philosophers of Miletus. His 
period may be given approximately as from about 560 
to 500 B.C., though others place him a generation 
later. Few authentic particulars have been preserved 
of him. We hear of extensive travels, of his return 
to his native city only to refuse a share in its activities, 
of his retirement to a hermit s life. He seems to 
have formed a contrast to the preceding philosophers 
in his greater detachment from the ordinary interests 
of civic existence ; and much in his teaching suggests 
the ascetic if not the misanthrope. He received 
the nickname of The Obscure, from the studied 
mystery in which he was supposed to involve his 


23 teaching. He wrote not for the vulgar, but for the 
gifted few. * Much learning makes not wise was the 
motto of his work ; the man of gift, of insight, that 
man is better than ten thousand. He was savage 
in his criticism of other writers, even the greatest. 
Homer, he said, and Archilochus too, deserved to be 
hooted from the platform and thrashed. Even the 
main purport of his writings was differently inter 
preted. Some named his work The Muses, as 
though it were chiefly a poetic vision ; others named 
it The sure Steersman to the Goal of Life ; others, 
more prosaically, A Treatise of Nature. 

26 The fundamental principle or fact of being 
Heraclitus formulated in the famous dictum, All 
things pass. In the eternal flux or flow of being 
consisted its reality ; even as in a river the water is 
ever changing, and the river exists as a river only in 
virtue of this continual change ; or as in a living body, 
wherein while there is life there is no stability or 
fixedness ; stability and fixedness are the attributes of 
the unreal image of life, not of life itself. Thus, as will 
be observed, from the material basis of being as con 
ceived by Thales, with only a very vague conception of 
the counter-principle of movement, philosophy has 
wheeled round in Heraclitus to the other extreme ; he 
finds his permanent element in the negation of per 
manence ; being or reality consists in never being 
but always becoming, not in stability but in change. 


This eternal movement he pictures elsewhere as 27 
an eternal strife of opposites, whose differences never 
theless consummate themselves in finest harmony. 
Thus oneness emerges out of multiplicity, multiplicity 
out of oneness ; and the harmony of the universe is 
of contraries, as of the lyre and the bow. War is 
the father and king and lord of all things. Neither 
god nor man presided at the creation of anything 
that is ; that which was, is that which is, and that 
which ever shall be ; even an ever-living Fire, ever 
kindling and ever being extinguished. 

Thus in Fire, as an image or symbol of the 28 
underlying reality of existence, Heraclitus advanced 
to the furthest limit attainable on physical lines, for 
the expression of its essentially motive character. 
That this Fire was no more than a symbol, suggested 
by the special characteristics of fire in nature, its 
subtlety, its mobility, its power of penetrating all 
things and devouring all things, its powers for benefi 
cence in the warmth of living bodies and the life-giving 
power of the sun, is seen in the fact that he readily 
varies his expression for this principle, calling it at 
times the Thunderbolt, at others the eternal Reason, 29 
or Law, or Fate. To his mental view creation 
was a process eternally in action, the fiery element 
descending by the law of its being into the cruder 30 
forms of water and earth, only to be resolved again 
by upward process into fire ; even as one sees the 



vapour from the sea ascending and melting into the 

32 aether. As a kindred vapour or exhalation he 
recognised the Soul or Breath for a manifestation of 
the essential element. It is formless, ever changing 
with every breath we take, yet it is the constructive 
and unifying force which keeps the body together, 
and conditions its life and growth. At this point 

33 Heraclitus comes into touch with Anaximenes. In 
the act of breathing we draw into our own being a 
portion of the all-pervading vital element of all being; 
in this universal being we thereby live and move and 
have our consciousness; the eternal and omnipresent 
wisdom becomes, through the channels of our senses, 
and especially through the eyes, in fragments at least 
our wisdom. In sleep we are not indeed cut off wholly 
from this wisdom ; through our breathing we hold 
as it were to its root ; but of its flower we are then 
deprived. On awaking again we begin once more 
to partake according to our full measure of the living 
thought ; even as coals when brought near the fire 
are themselves made partakers of it, but when taken 
away again become quenched. 

34 Hence, in so far as man is wise, it is because his 
spirit is kindled by union with the universal spirit ; 
but there is a baser, or, as Heraclitus termed it, a 
moister element also in him, which is the element of 
unreason, as in a drunken man. And thus the 
trustworthiness or otherwise of the senses, as the 


channels of communication with the divine, depends 
on the dryness or moistness, or, as we should express 
it, using, after all, only another metaphor, on the 
elevation or baseness of the spirit that is within. To 
those whose souls are base and barbarous, the 
eternal movement, the living fire, is invisible ; 
and thus what they do see is nothing but death. 
Immersed in the mere appearances of things 
and their supposed stability, they, whether sleeping 
or waking, behold only dead forms ; their spirits 
are dead. 

For the guidance of life there is no law but the 35 
common sense, which is the union of those fragment 
ary perceptions of eternal law, which individual men 37 
attain, in so far as their spirits are dry and pure. 
Of absolute knowledge human nature is not capable, 
but only the Divine. To the Eternal, therefore, alone 
all things are good and beautiful and just, because 
to Him alone do things appear in their totality. To 
the human partial reason some things are unjust and 
others just. Hence life, by reason of the limitations 38 
involved in it, he sometimes spoke of as the death of 
the soul, and death as the renewal of its life. And so, 39 
in the great events of man s life and in the small, as 
in the mighty circle of the heavens, good and evil, life 
and death, growth and decay, are but the systole 
and diastole, the outward and inward pulsation, of 
an eternal good, an eternal harmony. Day and 


night, winter and summer, war and peace, satiety 
and hunger each conditions the other, all are part 
of God. It is sickness that makes health good and 
sweet, hunger that gives its pleasure to feeding, 
weariness that makes sleep a good. 

39 This vision of existence in its eternal flux and 
interchange, seems to have inspired Heraclitus with 
a contemplative melancholy. In the traditions of 
later times he was known as the weeping philosopher. 
Lucian represents him as saying, "To me it is a 
sorrow that there is nothing fixed or secure, and 
that all things are thrown confusedly together, so 
that pleasure and pain, knowledge and ignorance, 
the great and the small, are the same, ever circling 
round and passing one into the other in the sport of 
time." " Time," he says elsewhere, " is like a child 
that plays with the dice." The highest good, there 
fore, for mortals is that clarity of perception in 
respect of oneself and all that is, whereby we shall 
learn to apprehend somewhat of the eternal unity 
and harmony, that underlies the good and evil of 
time, the shock and stress of circumstance and place. 
The highest virtue for man is a placid and a quiet 
constancy, whatever the changes and chances of life 
may bring. It is the pantheistic apathy. 

The sadder note of humanity, the note of Euripides 
and at times of Sophocles, the note of Dante and of 
the Tempest of Shakespeare, of Shelley and Arnold 


and Carlyle, this note we hear thus early and thus 
clear, in the dim and distant utterances of Heraclitus. 
The mystery of existence, the unreality of what 
seems most real, the intangibility and evanescence 
of all things earthly, these thoughts obscurely 
echoing to us across the ages from Heraclitus, have 
remained, and always will remain, among the deepest 
and most insistent of the world s thoughts, in its 
sincerest moments and in its greatest thinkers. 



41 THE birthplace of Pythagoras is uncertain. He is 
generally called the Samian, and we know, at all 
events, that he lived for some time in that island, 
during or immediately before the famous tyranny 

43 of Polycrates. All manner of legends are told of 
the travels of Pythagoras to Egypt, Chaldaea, 
Phoenicia, and even to India. Others tell of a 
mysterious initiation at the sacred cave of Jupiter in 
Crete, and of a similar ceremony at the Delphic 
oracle. What is certain is that at some date 
towards the end of the sixth century B.C. he re 
moved to Southern Italy, which was then extensively 
colonised by Greeks, and that there he became a 
great philosophic teacher, and ultimately even a 
predominating political influence. 

46 He instituted a school in the strictest sense, with 
its various grades of learners, subject for years to a 
vow of silence, holding all things in common, and 
admitted, according to their approved fitness, to 


successive revelations of the true doctrine of the 47 
Master. Those in the lower grades were called 
Listeners ; those in the higher, Mathematicians or 
Students ; those in the most advanced stage, Physi 
cists or Philosophers. With the political relations 
of the school we need not here concern ourselves. 
In Crotona and many other Greek cities in Italy 
Pythagoreans became a predominant aristocracy, 
who, having learned obedience under their master, 
applied what they had learned in an anti-democratic 
policy of government. This lasted for some thirty 
years, but ultimately democracy gained the day, and 
Pythagoreanism as a political power was violently 
rooted out. 

Returning to the philosophy of Pythagoras, in its 
relation to the general development of Greek theory, 
we may note, to begin with, that it is not necessary, 
or perhaps possible, to disentangle the theory of 
Pythagoras himself from that of his followers, 
Philolaus and others. The teaching was largely 
oral, and was developed by successive leaders of the 
school. The doctrine, therefore, is generally spoken 
of as that, not of Pythagoras, but of the Pythagoreans. 
Nor can we fix for certain on one fundamental 
conception, upon which the whole structure of their 
doctrine was built. 

One dictum we may start with because of its 52 
analogies with what has been said of the earlier 


philosophies. The universe, said the Pythagoreans, 
was constituted of indefinites and definers, i.e. of that 
which has no character, but has infinite capacities of 
taking a character ; and secondly, of things or forces 
which impose a character upon this. Out of the com 
bination of these two elements or principles all know- 

53 able existences come into being. " All things," they 
said, " as known have Number ; and this number has 
two natures, the Odd and the Even ; the known 
thing is the Odd-Even or union of the two." 

55 By a curious and somewhat fanciful development 
of this conception the Pythagoreans drew up two 
parallel columns of antithetical principles in nature, 
ten in each, thus : 

Definite Indefinite 

Odd Even 

One Many 

Right Left 

Male Female 

Steadfast Moving 

Straight Bent 

Light Dark 

Good Evil 

Four Square Irregular. 

Looking down these two lists we shall see that the 
first covers various aspects of what is conceived as 
the ordering, defining, formative principle in nature ; 
and that the second in like manner comprises various 


aspects of the unordered, neutral, passive, or disorgan 
ised element or principle ; the first, to adopt a later 
method of expression, is Form, the second Matter. 
How this antithesis was worked out by Plato and 
Aristotle we shall see later on. 

While, in a sense, then, even the indefinite has 54 
number, inasmuch as it is capable of having number 
or order imposed upon it (and only in so far as 
it has this imposed upon it, does it become 
knowable or intelligible), yet, as a positive factor, 
Number belongs only to the first class ; as such it is 
the source of all knowledge and of all good. In 
reality the Pythagoreans had not got any further by 
this representation of nature than was reached, for 
example, by Anaximander, and still more definitely 
by Heraclitus, when they posited an Indefinite or 
Infinite principle in nature which by the clash of 
innate antagonisms developed into a knowable 
universe (see above, pp. 12, 16). But one can easily 
imagine that once the idea of Number became 
associated with that of the knowable in things, a 
wide field of detailed development and experiment, 
so to speak, in the arcana of nature, seemed to be 
opened. Every arithmetical or geometrical theorem 
became in this view another window giving light into 
the secret heart of things. Number became a kind 
of god, a revealer ; and the philosophy of number a 
kind of religion or mystery. And this is why the 


second grade of disciples were called Mathematicians; 
mathematics was the essential preparation for and 
initiation into philosophy. 

Whether that which truly exists was actually 
identical with Number or Numbers, or whether it 
was something different from Number, but had a 
certain relation to Number ; whether if there were 
such a relation, this was merely a relation of analogy 
or of conformability, or whether Number were some 
thing actually embodied in that which truly exists 
these were speculative questions which were variously 
answered by various teachers, and which probably 
interested the later more than the earlier leaders of 
the school. 

56 A further question arose : Assuming that ulti 
mately the elements of knowable existence are but 
two, the One or Definite, and the Manifold or 
Indefinite, it was argued by some that there must 
be some third or higher principle governing the 
relations of these ; there must be some law or 
harmony which shall render their intelligible union 

57 possible. This principle of union was God, ever- 
living, ever One, eternal, immovable, self-identical. 

58 This was the supreme reality, the Odd-Even or Many 
in One, One in Many, in whom was gathered up, as 
in an eternal harmony, all the contrarieties of lower 

61 existence. Through the interchange and intergrowth 
of these contrarieties God realises Himself; the 


universe in its evolution is the self-picturing of God. 
God is diffused as the seminal principle throughout 62 
the universe ; He is the Soul of the world, and the 68 
world itself is God in process. The world, therefore, 
is in a sense a living creature. At its heart and 
circumference are purest fire ; between these circle 
the sun, the moon, and the five planets, whose ordered 
movements, as of seven chords, produce an eternal 
music, the Music of the Spheres. Earth, too, like 
the planets, is a celestial body, moving like them 
around the central fire. 

By analogy with this conception of the universe 71 
as the realisation of God, so also the body, whether 
of man or of any creature, is the realisation for the 72 
time being of a soul. Without the body and the 
life of the body, that soul were a blind and fleeting 
ghost. Of such unrealised souls there are many in 
various degrees and states ; the whole air indeed is 
full of spirits, who are the causes of dreams and 

Thus the change and flux that are visible in all 73 
else are visible also in the relations of soul and body. 
Multitudes of fleeting ghosts or spirits are continually 
seeking realisation through union with bodies, passing 
at birth into this one and that, and at death issuing 
forth again into the void. Like wax which takes 
now one impression now another, yet remains in 
itself ever the same, so souls vary in the outward 


<"4 form that envelops and realises them. In this 
bodily life, the Pythagoreans are elsewhere described 
as saying, we are as it were in bonds or in a prison, 
whence we may not justly go forth till the Lord calls 
us. This idea Cicero mistranslated with a truly 
Roman fitness : according to him they taught that 
in this life we are as sentinels at our post, who may 
not quit it till our Commander orders. 

On the one hand, therefore, the union of soul 
with body was necessary for the realisation of the 
former (aw^a, body, being as it were arj/jia, expression}, 
even as the reality of God was not in the Odd or 
Eternal Unity, but in the Odd-Even, the Unity in 
Multiplicity. On the other hand this union implied 
a certain loss or degradation. In other words, in 
so far as the soul became realised it also became 
corporealised, subject to the influence of passion and 

75 change. In a sense therefore the soul as realised was 
double; in itself it partook of the eternal reason, as as 
sociated with body it belonged to the realm of unreason. 
This disruption of the soul into two the Pytha 
goreans naturally developed in time into a threefold 
division, pure thought, perception, and desire ; or even 
more nearly approaching the Platonic division (see 
below, p. 169), they divided it into reason, passion, and 
desire. But the later developments were largely 
influenced by Platonic and other doctrines, and need 
not be further followed here. 


Music had great attractions for Pythagoras, not 78 
only for its soothing and refining effects, but for the 
intellectual interest of its numerical relations. Refer 
ence has already been made (see above, p. 27) to their 
quaint doctrine of the music of the spheres ; and the 
same idea of rhythmic harmony pervaded the whole 
system. The life of the soul was a harmony; the vir 
tues were perfect numbers ; and the influence of music 
on the soul was only one instance among many of 
the harmonious relations of things throughout the 
universe. Thus we have Pythagoras described as 
soothing mental afflictions, and bodily ones also, by 
rhythmic measure and by song. With the morning s 
dawn he would be astir, harmonising his own spirit 
to his lyre, and chanting ancient hymns of the Cretan 
Thales, of Homer, and of Hesiod, till all the tremors 
of his soul were calmed and still. 

Night and morning also he prescribed for himself 
and his followers an examination, as it were a tuning 
and testing of oneself. At these times especially 
was it meet for us to take account of our soul and 
its doings ; in the evening to ask, " Wherein have I 
transgressed ? What done ? What failed to do ? " 
In the morning, " What must I do ? Wherein repair 
past days forgetfulness ?" 

But the first duty of all was truth, truth to one s 
own highest, truth to the highest beyond us. Through 
truth alone could the soul approach the divine. 


Falsehood was of the earth ; the real life of the soul 
must be in harmony with the heavenly and eternal 

Pythagoreanism remained a power for centuries 
throughout the Greek world and beyond. All sub 
sequent philosophies borrowed from it, as it in its 
later developments borrowed from them ; and thus 
along with them it formed the mind of the world, for 
further apprehensions, and yet more authentic revela-. 
tions, of divine order and moral excellence. 



I. XENOPHANES. Xenophanes was a native of 79 
Colophon, one of the Ionian cities of Asia Minor, 
but having been forced at the age of twenty-five to 
leave his native city owing to some political revolu 
tion, he wandered to various cities of Greece, and 
ultimately to Zancle and Catana, Ionian colonies in 
Sicily, and thence to Elea or Velia, a Greek city on 
the coast of Italy. This city had, like Miletus, 
reached a high pitch of commercial prosperity, and 
like it also became a centre of philosophic teaching. 
For there Xenophanes remained and founded a 
school, so that he and his successors received the 
name of Eleatics. His date is uncertain ; but he 
seems to have been contemporary with Anaximander 
and Pythagoras, and to have had some knowledge of so 
the doctrine of both. He wrote in various poetic 
measures, using against the poets, and especially 
against Homer and Hesiod, their own weapons, to 
denounce their anthropomorphic theology. If oxen 83 


or lions had hands, he said, they would have fashioned 
gods after their likeness which would have been as 


85 authentic as Homer s. As against these poets, and 
the popular mythology, he insisted that God must be 
one, eternal, incorporeal, without beginning or ending. 

87 As Aristotle strikingly expresses it, " He looked forth 
over the whole heavens and said that God is one, 

88 that that which is one is God." The favourite 
antitheses of his time, the definite and the indefinite, 
movable and immovable, change-producing and by 
change produced these and such as these, he main 
tained, were inapplicable to the eternally and essen- 

86 tially existent. In this there was no partition of 
organs or faculties, no variation or shadow of turning ; 
the Eternal Being was like a sphere, everywhere equal 
everywhere self-identical. 

84 His proof of this was a logical one ; the absolutely 
self-existent could not be thought in conjunction with 
attributes which either admitted any external in 
fluencing Him, or any external influenced by Him. 
The prevailing dualism he considered to be, as an 
ultimate theory of the universe, unthinkable and 
therefore false. Outside the Self-existent there could 
be no second self-existent, otherwise each would be 
conditioned by the existence of the other, and the 
Self- existent would be gone. Anything different 
from the Self-existent must be of the non-existent, i.e. 
must be nothing. 


One can easily see in these discussions some 
adumbration of many theological or metaphysical 
difficulties of later times, as of the origin of evil, 
of freewill in man, of the relation of the created 
world to its Creator. If these problems cannot be 
said to be solved yet, we need not be surprised that 
Xenophanes did not solve them. He was content 
to emphasise that which seemed to him to be neces 
sary and true, that God was God, and not either a 
partner with, or a function of, matter. 

At the same time he recognised a world of 89 
phenomena, or, as he expressed it, a world of guess 
work or opinion (Sofa). As to the origin of things 
within this sphere he was ready enough to borrow 
from the speculations of his predecessors. Earth and 90 
water are the sources from which we spring ; and he 
imagined a time when there was neither sea nor land, 
but an all-pervading slough and slime ; nay, many 
such periods of inundation and emergence had been, 
hence the sea-shells on the tops of mountains and 
the fossils in the rocks. Air and fire also as agencies 
of change are sometimes referred to by him ; antici 
pations in fact are visible of the fourfold classifica 
tion of the elements which was formally made by 
some of his successors. 

II. PARMENIDES. The pupil and successor of 91 
Xenophanes was PARMENIDES, a native of Elea. In 
a celebrated dialogue of Plato bearing the name of 



this philosopher he is described as visiting Socrates 
when the latter was very young. " He was then 
already advanced in years, very hoary, yet noble to 
look upon, in years some sixty and five." Socrates 
was born about 479 B.C. The birth of Parmenides 
might therefore, if this indication be authentic, be 
about 520. He was of a wealthy and noble family, 
and able therefore to devote himself to a learned 
leisure. Like his master he expounded his views in 
verse, and fragments of his poem of considerable 
length and importance have been preserved. The 
title of the work was Tiepl Qvcrecos Of Nature. 

The exordium of the poem is one of some grand 
eur. The poet describes himself as soaring aloft to 
the sanctuary of wisdom where it is set in highest 
aether, the daughters of the Sun being his guides ; 
under whose leading having traversed the path of 
perpetual day and at length attained the temple of 
the goddess, he from her lips received instruction in 
the eternal verities, and had shown to him the decep 
tive guesses of mortals. " Tis for thee," she says, 
" to hear of both, to have disclosed to thee on the 
one hand the sure heart of convincing verity, on the 
other hand the guesses of mortals wherein is no ascer 
tainment. Nevertheless thou shalt learn of these also, 
that having gone through them all thou may st see 
by what unsureness of path must he go who goeth 
the way of opinion. From such a way of searching 


restrain thou thy thought, and let not the much-ex 
perimenting habit force thee along the path wherein 
thou must use thine eye, yet being sightless, and the 
ear with its clamorous buzzings, and the chattering 
tongue. Tis by Reason that thou must in lengthened 
trial judge what I shall say to thee." 

Thus, like Xenophanes, Parmenides draws a deep 94 
division between the world of reason and the world 
of sensation, between probative argument and the 
guess-work of sense-impressions. The former is the 
world of Being, the world of that which truly is, self- 
existent, uncreated, unending, unmoved, unchanging, 
ever self- poised and self- sufficient, like a sphere. 
Knowledge is of this, and of this only, and as such, 98 
knowledge is identical with its object ; for outside 
this known reality there is nothing. In other words, 
Knowledge can only be of that which is, and that 
which is alone can know. All things which mortals 
have imagined to be realities are but words ; as of 
the birth and death of things, of things which were 
and have ceased to be, of here and there, of now and 

It is obvious enough that in all this, and in much 
more to the same effect reiterated throughout the 
poem, we have no more than a statement, in various 
forms of negation, of the inconceivability by human 
reason of that passage from being as such, to that 
world of phenomena which is now, but was not before, 


and will cease to be, from being to becoming, from 
eternity to time, from the infinite to the finite (or, as 
Parmenides preferred to call it, from the perfect to the 
imperfect, the definite to the indefinite). In all this 
Parmenides was not contradicting such observed facts 
as generation, or motion, or life, or death ; he was 
talking of a world which has nothing to do with 
observation ; he was endeavouring to grasp what 
was assumed or necessarily implied as a prior con 
dition of observation, or of a world to observe. 

What he and his school seem to have felt was 
that there was a danger in all this talk of water or 
air or other material symbol, or even of the indefinite 
or characterless as the original of all, the danger, 
namely, that one should lose sight of the idea of law, 
of rationality, of eternal self-centred force, and so be 
carried away by some vision of a gradual process of 
evolution from mere emptiness to fulness of being. 
Such a position would be not dissimilar to that of 
many would-be metaphysicians among evolutionists, 
who, not content with the doctrine of evolution as a 
theory in science, an ordered and organising view of 
observed facts, will try to elevate it into a vision of 
what is, and alone is, behind the observed facts. 
They fail to see that the more blind, the more 
accidental, so to speak, the process of differentiation 
may be ; the more it is shown that the struggle for 
existence drives the wheels of progress along the 


lines of least resistance by the most commonplace of 
mechanical necessities, in the same proportion must 
a law be posited behind all this process, a reason in 
nature which gathers up the beginning and the 
ending. The protoplasmic cell which the imagination 
of evolutionists places at the beginning of time as 
the starting-point of this mighty process is not 
merely this or that, has not merely this or that 
quality or possibility, it is ; and in the power of that 
little word is enclosed a whole_world_jof thought, 
which is there at the^hrst^remains there all through 
the evolutions of the protoplasm, will be there when 
these are done, is in fact independent of time and 
space, has nothing to do with such distinctions, 
expresses rather their ultimate unreality. So far 
then as Parmenides and his school kept a firm grip 
on this other-world aspect of nature as implied even 
in the simple word is, or be, so far they did good 
service in the process of the world s thought. On 
the other hand, he and they were naturally enough 
disinclined, as we all are disinclined, to remain in the 
merely or mainly negative or defensive. He would 
not lose his grip of heaven and eternity, but he would 
fain know the secrets of earth and time as well. 
And hence was fashioned the second part of his 
poem, in which he expounds his theory of the world 
of opinion, or guess-work, or observation. 

In this world he found two originative principles 99 


at work, one pertaining to light and heat, the other 
to darkness and cold. From the union of these two 
principles all observable things in creation come, and 
over this union a God-given power presides, whose 
name is Love. Of these two principles, the bright 
one being analogous to Fire, the dark one to Earth, 
he considered the former to be the male or formative 
element, the latter the female or passive element ; 
the former therefore had analogies to Being as such, 
the latter to Non-being. The heavenly existences, 
the sun, the moon, the stars, are of pure Fire, have 
therefore an eternal and unchangeable being ; they 
are on the extremest verge of the universe, and 
corresponding to them at the centre is another fiery 
sphere, which, itself unmoved, is the cause of all 
motion and generation in the mixed region between. 
The motive and procreative power, sometimes called 
Love, is at other times called by Parmenides 
Necessity, Bearer of the Keys, Justice, Ruler, etc. 

But while in so far as there was union in the 
production of man or any other creature, the pre- 
102 siding genius might be symbolised as Love ; on the 
other hand, since this union was a union of opposites 
(Light and Dark), Discord or Strife also had her say 
in the union. Thus the nature and character in 
every creature was the resultant of two antagonistic 
forces, and depended for its particular excellence or 
defect on the proportions in which these two elements 



the light and the dark, the fiery and the earthy- 
had been commingled. 

No character in Greek antiquity, at least in the 
succession of philosophic teachers, held a more 
honoured position than Parmenides. He was looked 
on with almost superstitious reverence by his fellow- 
countrymen. Plato speaks of him as his " Father 
Parmenides," whom he " revered and honoured more 
than all the other philosophers together." To quote 
Professor Jowett in his introduction to Plato s dia 
logue Parmenides^ he was " the founder of idealism 
and also of dialectic, or in modern phraseology, of 
metaphysics and of logic." Of the logical aspect of 
his teaching we shall see a fuller exemplification in 
his pupil and successor Zeno ; of his metaphysics, by 
way of summing up what has been already said, it 
may be remarked that its substantial excellence 
consists in the perfect clearness and precision with 
which Parmenides enunciated as fundamental in any 
theory of the knowable universe the priority of 
Existence itself, not in time merely or chiefly, but as 
a condition of having any problem to inquire into. 
He practically admits that he does not see how to 
bridge over the partition between Existence in itself 
and the changeful, temporary, existing things which 
the senses give us notions of. But whatever the 
connection may be, if there is a connection, he is 
convinced that nothing would be more absurd than 

4 o 


to make the data of sense in any way or degree the 
measure of the reality of existence, or the source 
from which existence itself comes into being. 

On this serenely impersonal position he took his 
stand ; we find little or nothing of the querulous 
personal note so characteristic of much modern 
philosophy. We never find him asking, " What is 
to become of me in all this ? " " What is my position 
with regard to this eternally-existing reality?" 

Of course this is not exclusively a characteristic 
of Parmenides, but of the time. The idea of personal 
relation to an eternal Rewarder was only vaguely 
held in historical times in Greece. The conception 
of personal immortality was a mere pious opinion, a 
doctrine whispered here and there in secret mystery ; 
it was not an influential force on men s motives or 
actions. Thought was still occupied with the wider 
universe, the heavens and their starry wonders, and 
the strange phenomena of law in nature. In the 
succession of the seasons, the rising and setting, the 
fixities and aberrations, of the heavenly bodies, in 
the mysteries of coming into being and passing out 
of it, in these and other similar marvels, and in the 
thoughts which they evoked, a whole and ample 
world seemed open for inquiry. Men and their fate 
were interesting enough to men, but as yet the 
egotism of man had not attempted to isolate his 
destiny from the general problem of nature. 


To the crux of philosophy as it appeared to 
Parmenides in the relation of being as such to things 
which seem to be, modernism has appended a sort 
of corollary, in the relation of being as such to my 
being. Till the second question was raised its 
answer, of course, could not be attempted. But all 
those who in modern times have said with Tennyson 

Thou wilt not leave us in the dust : 

Thou madest man, he knows not why ; 
He thinks he was not made to die ; 

And Thou hast made him : Thou art just, 

may recognise in Parmenides a pioneer for them. 
Without knowing it, he was fighting the battle of 
personality in man, as well as that of reality in 


THE ELEATICS (concluded) 

106 III. ZENO. The third head of the Eleatic 
school was ZENO. He is described by Plato in the 
Parmenides as accompanying his master to Athens 
on the visit already referred to (see above, p. 34), 
and as being then " nearly forty years of age, of a 
noble figure and fair aspect." In personal character 
he was a worthy pupil of his master, being, like him, 
a devoted patriot. He is even said to have fallen a 
victim to his patriotism, and to have suffered bravely 
the extremest tortures at the hands of a tyrant 
Nearchus rather than betray his country. 

His philosophic position was a very simple one. 
He had nothing to add to or to vary in the doctrine 
of Parmenides. His function was primarily that of 
an expositor and defender of that doctrine, and his 
particular pre-eminence consists in the ingenuity of 
his dialectic resources of defence. He is in fact 
pronounced by Aristotle to have been the inventor 
of dialectic or systematic logic. The relation of 



the two is humorously expressed thus by Plato 
(Jowett, Plato, vol. iv. p. 128) : " I see, Parmenides, 
said Socrates, that Zeno is your second self in his 
writings too ; he puts what you say in another way, 
and would fain deceive us into believing that he is 
telling us what is new. For you, in your poems, 
say, All is one, and of this you adduce excellent 
proofs ; and he, on the other hand, says, There is no 
many ; and on behalf of this he offers overwhelming 
evidence." To this Zeno replies, admitting the fact, 
and adds : " These writings of mine were meant to 
protect the arguments of Parmenides against those 
who scoff at him, and show the many ridiculous and 
contradictory results which they suppose to follow 
from the affirmation of the One. My answer is an 
address to the partisans of the many, whose attack 
I return with interest by retorting upon them that 
their hypothesis of the being of many if carried out 
appears in a still more ridiculous light than the 
hypothesis of the being of one." 

The arguments of Zeno may therefore be re 
garded as strictly arguments in kind ; quibbles 
if you please, but in answer to quibbles. The secret 
of his method was what Aristotle calls Dichotomy 
that is, he put side by side two contradictory pro 
positions with respect to any particular supposed 
real thing in experience, and then proceeded to show 
that both these contradictories alike imply what is 

44 ZENO 

105 inconceivable. Thus " a thing must consist either of 
a finite number of parts or an infinite number." Assume 
the number of parts to be finite. Between them there 
must either be something or nothing. If there is some 
thing between them, then the whole consists of more 
parts than it consists of. If there is nothing between 
them, then they are not separated, therefore they 
are not parts ; therefore the whole has no parts at 
all ; therefore it is nothing. If, on the other hand, 
the number of parts is infinite, then, the same kind 
of argument being applied, the magnitude of the 
whole is by infinite successive positing of intervening 
parts shown to be infinite ; therefore this one thing, 
being infinitely large, is everything. 

107 Take, again, any supposed fact, as that an arrow 
moves. An arrow cannot move except in space. 
It cannot move in space without being in space. 
At any moment of its supposed motion it must be 
in a particular space. Being in that space, it must 
at the time during which it is in it be at rest But 
the total time of its supposed motion is made up of 
the moments composing that time, and to each of 
these moments the same argument applies ; therefore 
either the arrow never was anywhere, or it always 
was at rest. 

Or, again, take objects moving at unequal rates, 
as Achilles and a tortoise. Let the tortoise have a 
start of any given length, then Achilles, however 


much he excel in speed, will never overtake the 
tortoise. For, while Achilles has passed over the 
originally intervening space, the tortoise will have 
passed over a certain space, and when Achilles has 
passed over this second space the tortoise will have 
again passed over some space, and so on ad infinitum ; 
therefore in an infinite time there must always be 
a space, though infinitely diminishing, between the 
tortoise and Achilles, i.e. the tortoise must always be 
at least a little in front. 

These will be sufficient to show the kind of 
arguments employed by Zeno. In themselves they 
are of no utility, and Zeno never pretended that 
they had any. But as against those who denied 
that existence as such was a datum independent of 
experience, something different from a mere sum of 
isolated things, his arguments were not only effective, 
but substantial. The whole modern sensational or 
experiential school, who derive our abstract ideas/ 
as they are called, from phenomena or sensation, 
manifest the same impatience of any analysis of 
what they mean by phenomena or sensation, as no 
doubt Zeno s opponents manifested of his analyses. 
As in criticising the one, modern critics are ready 
with their answer that Zeno s quibbles are simply " a 
play of words on the well-known properties of 
infinities," so they are quick to tell us that sensation 
is an " affection of the sentient organism"; ignoring in 


the first case the prior question where the idea of 
infinity came from, and in the second, where the 
idea of a sentient organism came from. 

Indirectly, as we shall see, Zeno had a great 
effect on subsequent philosophies by the development 
of a process of ingenious verbal distinction, which in 
the hands of so-called sophists and others became a 
weapon of considerable, if temporary, power. 

109 IV. MELISSUS. The fourth and last of the 
Eleatic philosophers was Melissus, a native of Samos. 
His date may be fixed as about 440 B.C. He took 
an active part in the politics of his native country, 
and on one occasion was commander of the Samian 
fleet in a victorious engagment with the Athenians, 
when Samos was being besieged by Pericles. He be 
longs to the Eleatic school in respect of doctrine and 
method, but we have no evidence of his ever having 
resided at Elea, nor any reference to his connection 
with the philosophers there, except the statement that 
he was a pupil of Parmenides. He developed very 
fully what is technically called in the science of Logic 

110 the Dilemma. Thus, for example, he begins his 
treatise On Existence or On Nature thus: "If nothing 
exists, then there is nothing for us to talk about. 
But if there is such a thing as existence it must 
either come into being or be ever-existing. If it 
come into being, it must come from the existing or 
the non-existing. Now that anything which exists, 


above all, that which is absolutely existent, should 
come from what is not, is impossible. Nor can it 
come from that which is. For then it would be 
already, and would not come into being. That 
which exists, therefore, comes not into being ; it must 
therefore be ever-existing." 

By similar treatment of other conceivable alterna- 111 
tives he proceeds to show that as the existent had 
no beginning so it can have no ending in time. 
From this, by a curious transition which Aristotle 
quotes as an example of loose reasoning, he con 
cludes that the existent can have no limit in space 
either. As being thus unlimited it must be one, 112 
therefore immovable (there being nothing else into 
which it can move or change), and therefore always 
self-identical in extent and character. It cannot, 
therefore, have any body, for body has parts and is 
not therefore one. 

Being incapable of change one might perhaps us 
conclude that the absolutely existing being is 
incapable of any mental activity or consciousness. 
We have no authority for assuming that Melissus 
came to this conclusion ; but there is a curious 
remark of Aristotle s respecting this and previous 
philosophers of the school which certain critics have 
made to bear some such interpretation. He says : iu 
" Parmenides seems to hold by a Unity in thought, 
Melissus by a Material unity. Hence the first 


defined the One as limited, the second declared it to 
be unlimited. Xenophanes made no clear statement 
on this question ; he simply, gazing up to the arch 
of heaven, declared, The One is God." 

But the difference between Melissus and his 
master can hardly be said to be a difference of 
doctrine ; point for point, they are identical. The 
difference is a difference of vision or mental picture 
as to this mighty All which is One. Melissus, 
so to speak, places himself at the centre of this 
Universal being, and sees it stretching out in 
finitely, unendingly, in space and in time. Its 
oneness comes to him as the sum of these infinities. 
Parmenides, on the other hand, sees all these end 
less immensities as related to a centre ; he, so to 
speak, enfolds them all in the grasp of his unifying 
thought, and as thus equally and necessarily related 
to a central unity he pronounces the All a sphere, 
and therefore limited. The two doctrines, anti 
thetical in terms, are identical in fact. The 
absolutely unlimited and the absolutely self-limited 
are only two ways of saying the same thing. 

This difference of view or vision Aristotle in the 
passage quoted expresses as a difference between 
thought (Xoyo?) and matter (v\rj). This is just a 
form of his own radical distinction between Essence 
and Difference, Form and Matter, of which much 
will be said later on. It is like the difference 


between Deduction and Induction ; in the first you 
start from the universal and see within it the par 
ticulars ; in the second you start from the particulars 
and gather them into completeness and reality in a 
universal. The substance remains the same, only 
the point of view is different. To put the matter in 
modern mathematical form, one might say, The 
universe is to be conceived as a sphere (Parmenides) 
of infinite radius (Melissus). Aristotle is not blaming 
Melissus or praising Parmenides. As for Xenophanes, 
Aristotle after his manner finds in him the potentiality 
of both. He is prior both to the process of thought 
from universal to particular, and to that from par 
ticular to universal. He does not argue at all ; his 
function is Intuition. " He looks out on the mighty 
sky, and says, The One is God." 

Melissus applied the results of his analysis in an 
interesting way to the question already raised by his 
predecessors, of the trustworthiness of sensation. His 
argument is as follows : " If there were many real 
existences, to each of them the same reasonings must 
apply as I have already used with reference to the 
one existence. That is to say, if earth really exists, 
and water and air and iron and gold and fire and 
things living and things dead, and black and white, 
and all the various things whose reality men ordin 
arily assume, if all these really exist, and our sight 
and our hearing give us facts, then each of these as 



really existing must be what we concluded the one 
existence must be ; among other things, each must be 
unchangeable, and can never become other than it 
really is. But assuming that sight and hearing and 
apprehension are true, we find the cold becoming 
hot and the hot becoming cold ; the hard changes 
to soft, the soft to hard ; the living thing dies ; and 
from that which is not living, a living thing comes 
into being ; in short, everything changes, and what 
now is in no way resembles what was. It follows 
therefore that we neither see nor apprehend realities. 

" In fact we cannot pay the slightest regard to 
experience without being landed in self-contradictions. 
We assume that there are all sorts of really existing 
things, having a permanence both of form and power, 
and yet we imagine these very things altering and 
changing according to what we from time to time 
see about them. If they were realities as we first 
perceived them, our sight must now be wrong. For 
if they were real, they could not change. Nothing 
can be stronger than reality. Whereas to suppose 
it changed, we must affirm that the real has ceased 
to be, and that that which was not has displaced it." 

To Melissus therefore, as to his predecessors, the 
world of sense was a world of illusion ; the very first 
principles or assumptions of which, as of the truth 
fulness of the senses and the reality of the various 
objects which we see, are unthinkable and absurd. 


The weakness as well as the strength of the Eleatic 
position consisted in its purely negative and critical 
attitude. The assumptions of ordinary life and 
experience could not stand for a moment when 
assailed in detail by their subtle analysis. So-called 
facts were like a world of ghosts, which the sword 
of truth passed through without resistance. But 
somehow the sword might pierce them through and 
through, and show by all manner of arguments their 
unsubstantiality, but there they were still thronging 
about the philosopher and refusing to be gone. The 
world of sense might be only illusion, but there the 
illusion was. You could not lay it or exorcise it by 
calling it illusion or opinion. What was this opinion ? 
What was the nature of its subject matter? How 
did it operate? And if its results were not true 
or real, what was their nature ? These were ques 
tions which still remained when the analysis of the 
idea of absolute existence had been pushed to its 
completion. These were the questions which the 
next school of philosophy attempted to answer. 
After the Idealists, the Realists ; after the philosophy 
of mind, the philosophy of matter. 



129 I. ANAXAGORAS. Anaxagoras was born at 
Clazomenae, a city of Ionia, about the year 500 B.C. 
At the age of twenty he removed to Athens, of which 
city Clazomenae was for some time a dependency. 
This step on his part may have been connected with 
the circumstances attending the great invasion of 
Greece by Xerxes in the year 480. For Xerxes drew 
a large contingent of his army from the Ionian cities 
which he had subdued, and many who were unwilling 
to serve against their mother-country may have taken 
refuge about that time in Athens. At Athens he 
resided for nearly fifty years, and during that period 
became the friend and teacher of many eminent men, 
among the rest of Pericles, the great Athenian 

118 statesman, and of Euripides, the dramatist. Like 
most of the Ionian philosophers he had a taste for 
mathematics and astronomy, as well as for certain 
practical applications of mathematics. Among other 
books he is said to have written a treatise on the art 


of scene-designing for the stage, possibly to oblige 
his friend and pupil Euripides. In his case, as in 
that of his predecessors, only fragments of his philo 
sophic writings have been preserved, and the con 
nection of certain portions of his teaching as they 
have come down to us remains somewhat uncertain. 

With respect to the constitution of the universe we 119 
have the following: "Origination and destruction are 
phrases which are generally misunderstood among the 
Greeks. Nothing really is originated or destroyed ; 
the only processes which actually take place are com 
bination and separation of elements already existing. 120 
These elements we are to conceive as having been in a 
state of chaos at first, infinite in number and infinitely 
small, forming in their immobility a confused and 
characterless unity. About this chaos was spread 
the air and aether, infinite also in the multitude 
of their particles, and infinitely extended. Before 
separation commenced there was no clear colour or 
appearance in anything, whether of moist or dry, 
of hot or cold, of bright or dark, but only an infinite 
number of the seeds of things, having concealed in 
them all manner of forms and colours and savours." 

There is a curious resemblance in this to the 
opening verses of Genesis, " The earth was without 
form and void, and darkness was upon the face of 
the deep." Nor is the next step in his philosophy 
without its resemblance to that in the Biblical record. 


122 As summarised by Diogenes Laertius it takes this 
form, " All things were as one : then cometh Mind, 
and by division brought all things into order." 

121 "Conceiving," as Aristotle puts it, "that the original 
elements of things had no power to generate or 
develop out of themselves things as they exist, 
philosophers were forced by the facts themselves 
to seek the immediate cause of this development. 
They were unable to believe that fire, or earth, or 
any such principle was adequate to account for the 
order and beauty visible in the frame of things ; nor 
did they think it possible to attribute these to mere 
innate necessity or chance. One (Anaxagoras) ob 
serving how in living creatures Mind is the ordering 
force, declared that in nature also this must be the 
cause of order and beauty, and in so declaring he 
seemed, when compared with those before him, as 
one sober amidst a crowd of babblers." 

122 Elsewhere, however, Aristotle modifies this com 
mendation. " Anaxagoras," he says, " uses Mind only 
as a kind of last resort, dragging it in when he fails 
otherwise to account for a phenomenon, but never 
thinking of it else." And in the Phaedo Plato makes 
Socrates speak of the high hopes with which he had 
taken to the works of Anaxagoras, and how grievously 
he had been disappointed. "As I proceeded," he 
says, " I found my philosopher altogether forsaking 
Mind or any other principle of order, and having 


recourse to air, and aether, and water, and other 

Anaxagoras, then, at least on this side of his 
teaching, must be considered rather as the author of 
a phrase than as the founder of a philosophy. The 
phrase remained, and had a profound influence on 
subsequent philosophies, but in his own hands it was 
little more than a dead letter. His immediate 
interest was rather in the variety of phenomena than 
in their conceived principle of unity ; he is theoreti 
cally, perhaps, on the side of the angels, in practice 
he is a materialist. 

Mind he conceived as something apart, sitting 12 
throned like Zeus upon the heights, giving doubtless 
the first impulse to the movement of things, but 
leaving them for the rest to their own inherent 
tendencies. As distinguished from them it was, he 
conceived, the one thing which was absolutely pure 
and unmixed. All things else had intermixture with 
every other, the mixtures increasing in complexity 
towards the centre of things. On the outmost verge 
were distributed the finest and least complex forms 
of things the sun, the moon, the stars ; the more 
dense gathering together, to form as it were in the 
centre of the vortex, the earth and its manifold 
existences. By the intermixture of air and earth 
and water, containing in themselves the infinitely 
varied seeds of things, plants and animals were 


developed. The seeds themselves are too minute to 
be apprehended by the senses, but \ve can divine their 
character by the various characters of the visible 
things themselves, each of these having a necessary 
correspondence with the nature of the seeds from 
which they respectively were formed. 
128 Thus for a true apprehension of things sensation 
and reason are both necessary sensation to certify to 
the apparent characters of objects, reason to pass from 
these to the nature of the invisible seeds or atoms 
which cause those characters. Taken by themselves 
our sensations are false, inasmuch as they give us 
only combined impressions, yet they are a necessary 
stage towards the truth, as providing the materials 
which reason must separate into their real elements. 
From this brief summary we may gather that 
Mind was conceived, so to speak, as placed at the 
beginning of existence, inasmuch as it is the first 
originator of the vortex motions of the atoms or 
seeds of things ; it was conceived also at the end 
of existence as the power which by analysis of 
the data of sensation goes back through the com 
plexity of actual being to the original unmingled or 
undeveloped nature of things. But the whole pro 
cess of nature itself between these limits Anaxagoras 
conceived as a purely mechanical or at least physical 
development, the uncertainty of his view as between 
these two alternative ways of considering it being 


typified in his use of the two expressions atoms and 
seeds. The analogies of this view with those of 
modern materialism, which finds in the ultimate 
molecules of matter " the promise and the potency 
of all life and all existence," need not be here 
enlarged upon. 

After nearly half a century s teaching at Athens 
Anaxagoras was indicted on a charge of inculcating 
doctrines subversive of religion. It is obvious enough 
that his theories left no room for the popular 
mythology, but the Athenians were not usually very 
sensitive as to the bearing of mere theories upon 
their public institutions. It seems probable that the 
accusation was merely a cloak for political hostility. 
Anaxagoras was the friend and intimate of Pericles, 
leader of the democratic party in the state, and the 
attack upon Anaxagoras was really a political move 
intended to damage Pericles. As such Pericles him 
self accepted it, and the trial became a contest of 
strength, which resulted in a partial success and 
a partial defeat for both sides. Pericles succeeded 
in saving his friend s life, but the opposite party 
obtained a sentence of fine and banishment against 
him. Anaxagoras retired to Lampsacus, a city on 
the Hellespont, and there, after some five years, 
he died. 

THE ATOMISTS (continued] 

129 II. EMPEDOCLES. Empedocles was a native of 
Agrigentum, a Greek colony in Sicily. At the time 
when he flourished in his native city (circa 440 B.C.) 
it was one of the wealthiest and most powerful 
communities in that wealthy and powerful island. 
It had, however, been infested, like its neighbours, 
by the designs of tyrants and the dissensions of rival 
factions. Empedocles was a man of high family, and 
he exercised the influence which his position and his 
abilities secured him in promoting and maintaining 
the liberty of his fellow-countrymen. Partly on this 
account, partly from a reputation which with or 
without his own will he acquired for an almost 
miraculous skill in healing and necromantic arts, 
Empedocles attained to a position of singular per 
sonal power over his contemporaries, and was indeed 
regarded as semi-divine. His death was hedged 
about with mystery. According to one story he 
gave a great feast to his friends and offered a 


sacrifice ; then when his friends went to rest he dis 
appeared, and was no more seen. According to a 
story less dignified and better known 

Deus immortalis haberi 

Dum cupit Empedocles, ardentem frigidus Aetnam 
Insiluit. HOR. Ad Pisones, 464 sqq. 

" Eager to be deemed a god, Empedocles coldly 
threw himself in burning Etna." The fraud, it was 
said, was detected by one of his shoes being cast up 
from the crater. Whatever the manner of his end, 
the Etna story may probably be taken as an ill- 
natured joke of some sceptic wit ; and it is certain 
that no such story was believed by his fellow-citizens, 
who rendered in after years divine honours to his 

Like Xenophanes, Parmenides, and other Graeco- 
Italian philosophers, he expounded his views in 
verse ; but he reached a poetic excellence unattained 
by any predecessor. Aristotle characterises his gift 
as Homeric, and himself as a master of style, 
employing freely metaphors and other poetic forms. 
Lucretius also speaks of him in terms of high ad 
miration (De Nat. Rer. i. 716 sqq) : " Foremost 
among them is Empedocles of Agrigentum, child of the 
island with the triple capes, a land wondrous deemed 
in many wise, and worthy to be viewed of all men. 
Rich it is in all manner of good things, and strong 


in the might of its men, yet naught within its borders 
men deem more divine or more wondrous or more 
dear than her illustrious son. Nay, the songs which 
issued from his godlike breast are eloquent yet, and 
expound his findings wondrous well, so that hardly 
is he thought to have been of mortal clay." 
130 Like the Eleatics he denies that the senses are 
an absolute test of truth. " For straitened are the 
powers that have been shed upon our frames, and 
many the frets that cross us and defeat our care, and 
short the span of unsatisfying existence wherein tis 
given us to see. Shortlived as a wreath of smoke 
men rise and fleet away, persuaded but of that alone 
which each has chanced to light upon, driven hither 
and thither, and vainly do they pray to find the 
whole. For this men may not see or hear or grasp 
with the hand of thought." Yet that there is a kind 
or degree of knowledge possible for man his next 
words suggest when he continues : " Thou there 
fore since hither thou hast been borne, hear, and 
thou shalt learn so much as tis given to mortal 
thought to reach." Then follows an invocation in 
true Epic style to the " much- wooed white -armed 
1 virgin Muse," wherein he prays that " folly and im 
purity may be far from the lips of him the teacher, 
and that sending forth her swift-reined chariot from 
the shrine of Piety, the Muse may grant him to 
hear so much as is given to mortal hearing." 


Then follows a warning uttered by the Muse to 
her would-be disciple : " Thee the flowers of mortal 
distinctions shall not seduce to utter in daring of 
heart more than thou mayest, that thereby thou 
mightest soar to the highest heights of wisdom. 
And now behold and see, availing thyself of every 
device whereby the truth may in each matter be 
revealed, trusting not more to sight for thy learning 
than to hearing, nor to hearing with its loud echoings 
more than to the revelations of the tongue, nor to 
any one of the many ways whereby there is a path 
to knowledge. Keep a check on the revelation of 
the hands also, and apprehend each matter in the 
way whereby it is made plain to thee." 

The correction of the one sense by the others, 
and of all by reason, this Empedocles deemed the 
surest road to knowledge. He thus endeavoured to 
hold a middle place between the purely abstract 
reasoning of the Eleatic philosophy and the un 
reasoned first guesses of ordinary observation sug 
gested by this or that sense, and chiefly by the eyes. 
The senses might supply the raw materials of know 
ledge, unordered, unrelated, nay even chaotic and 
mutually destructive ; but in their contradictions of 
each other he hoped to find a starting-point for order 
amidst the seeming chaos ; reason should weigh, 
reason should reject, but reason also should find a 
residuum of truth. 


131 In our next fragment we have his enunciation 
in symbolical language of the four elements, by him 
first formulated : " Hear first of all what are the 
root principles of all things, being four in number, 
Zeus the bright shiner (i.e. fire), and Hera (air), 
and life-bearing Aidoneus (earth), and Nestis (water), 
who with her teardrops waters the fountain of 
mortality. Hear also this other that I will tell thee. 
Nothing of all that perisheth ever is created, nothing 
ever really findeth an end in death. There is naught 
but a mingling, and a parting again of that which 
was mingled, and this is what men call a coming 
into being. Foolish they, for in them is no far- 
reaching thought, that they should dream that what 
was not before can be, or that aught which is can 
utterly perish and die." Thus again Empedocles 
shows himself an Eclectic ; in denying that aught can 
come into being, he holds with the Eleatics (see above, 
p. 47) ; in identifying all seeming creation, and ceasing 
to be with certain mixtures and separations of matter 
eternally existing, he links himself rather to the 
doctrine of Anaxagoras (see above, p. 5 3). 

132 These four elements constitute the total corpus of 
the universe, eternal, as a whole unmoved and im 
movable, perfect like a sphere. But within this 
sphere-like self-centred All there are eternally pro 
ceeding separations and new unions of the elements 
of things ; and every one of these is at once a birth 


and an infinity of dyings, a dying and an infinity of 
births. Towards this perpetual life in death, and 
death in life, two forces work inherent in the universe. 
One of these he names Love, Friendship, Harmony, 
Aphrodite goddess of Love, Passion, Joy; the other he 
calls Hate, Discord, Ares god of War, Envy, Strife. 
Neither of the one nor of the other may man have 
apprehension by the senses ; they are spiritually dis 
cerned ; yet of the first men have some adumbration in 
the creative force within their own members, which 
they name by the names of Love and Nuptial Joy. 

Somewhat prosaically summing up the teaching 
of Empedocles, Aristotle says that he thus posited 
six first principles in nature four material, two 
motive or efficient. And he goes on to remark that 
in the working out of his theory of nature Empedocles, 
though using his originative principles more consist 
ently than Anaxagoras used his principle of Nous 
or Thought, not infrequently, nevertheless, resorts to 
some natural force in the elements themselves, or 
even to chance or necessity. " Nor," he continues, 
" has he clearly marked off the functions of his two 
efficient forces, nay, he has so confounded them that 
at times it is Discord that through separation leads 
to new unions, and Love that through union causes 
diremption of that which was before." At times, 
too, Empedocles seems to have had a vision of 
these two forces, not as the counteracting yet 


co-operative pulsations, so to speak, of the universal 
life, but as rival forces having had in time their periods 
of alternate supremacy and defeat. While all things 
were in union under the influence of Love, then was 
there neither Earth nor Water nor Air nor Fire, 
much less any of the individual things that in eternal 
interchange are formed of them ; but all was in 
perfect sphere-like balance, enwrapped in the serenity 
of an eternal silence. Then came the reign of 
Discord, whereby war arose in heaven as of the 
fabled giants, and endless change, endless birth, and 
endless death. 

These inconsistencies of doctrine, which Aristotle 
notes as faults in Empedocles, are perhaps rather 
proofs of the philosophic value of his conceptions. 
Just as Hegel in modern philosophy could only 
adequately formulate his conceptions through logical 
contradictions, so also, perhaps, under the veil of 
antagonisms of utterance, Empedocles sought to give 
a fuller vision, Discord, in his own doctrine, not 
less than in his conception of nature, being thus the 
co-worker with Love. The ordinary mind for the 
ordinary purposes of science seeks exactness of 
distinction in things, and language, being the creation 
of ordinary experience, lends itself to such a purpose ; 
the philosophic mind, finding ready to its hand no 
forms of expression adapted to its conceptions, which 
have for their final end Union and not Distinction, 


can only attain its purpose by variety, or even 
contradictoriness, of representation. Thus to ordin 
ary conception cause must precede effect ; to the 
philosophic mind, dealing as it does with the idea of 
an organic whole, everything is at once cause and 
effect, is at once therefore prior to and subsequent 
to every other, is at once the ruling and the ruled, 
the conditioning and that which is conditioned. 

So, to Empedocles there are four elements, yet 
in the eternal perfection, the silent reign of Love, 
there are none of them. There are two forces work 
ing upon these and against each other, yet each is 
like the other either a unifying or a separating 
force, as one pleases to regard them ; and in the 
eternal silence, the ideal perfectness, there is no war 
fare at all. There is joy in Love which creates, and in 
creating destroys ; there is joy in the eternal Stillness, 
nay, this is itself the ultimate joy. There are two 
forces working, Love and Hate, yet is there but one 
force, and that force is Necessity. And for final contra 
diction, the universe is self-balanced, self-conditioned, 
a perfect sphere ; therefore this Necessity is perfect 
self-realisation, and consequently perfect freedom. 

The men who have had the profoundest vision of 
things Heraclitus, Empedocles, Socrates, Plato, ay, 
and Aristotle himself when he was the thinker and 
not the critic ; riot to speak of the great moderns, 
whether preachers or philosophers have none of 



them been greatly concerned for consistency of 
expression, for a mere logical self-identity of doctrine. 
Life in every form, nay, existence in any form, is a 
union of contradictories, a complex of antagonisms ; 
and the highest and deepest minds are those that 
are most adequate to have the vision of these 
antagonisms in their contrariety, and also in their 
unity ; to see and hear as Empedocles did the 
eternal war and clamour, but to discern also, as he 
did in it and through it and behind it and about it, 
the eternal peace and the eternal silence. 

Philosophy, in fact, is a form of poesy ; it is, if 
one pleases so to call it, fiction founded upon fact 
It is not for that reason the less noble a form of 
human thought, rather is it the more noble, in the 
same way as poetry is nobler than mere narrative, 
and art than representation, and imagination than 
perception. Philosophy is indeed one of the noblest 
forms of poetry, because the facts which are its basis 
are the profoundest, the most eternally interesting, 
the most universally significant. And not only has 
it nobility in respect of the greatness of its subject 
matter, it has also possibilities of an essential truth 
deeper and more far-reaching and more fruitful than 
any demonstrative system of fact can have. A great 
poem or work of art of any kind is an adumbration of 
truths which transcend any actual fact, and as such it 
brings us nearer to the underlying fundamentals of 


reality which all actual occurrences only by accumula 
tion tend to realise. Philosophy, then, in so far as 
it is great, is, like other great art, prophetic in both 
interpretations of the word, both as expounding the 
inner truth that is anterior to actuality, and also as 
anticipating that final realisation of all things for 
which c the whole creation groaneth. It is thus at 
the basis of religion, of art, of morals ; it is the accumu 
lated sense of the highest in man with respect to what 
is greatest and most mysterious in and about him. 

The facts, indeed, with which philosophy attempts 
to deal are so vital and so vast that even the great 
est intellects may well stagger occasionally under 
the burden of their own conceptions of them. To 
rise to the height of such an argument demands 
a more than Miltonic imagination ; and criticisms 
directed only at this or that fragment of the whole 
are as irrelevant, if not as inept, as the criticism of 
the mathematician directed against Paradise Lost, 
that it c proved nothing. The mystery of being 
and of life, the true purport and reality of this world 
of which we seem to be a part, and yet of which we 
seem to have some apprehension as though we were 
other than a part ; the strange problems of creation 
and change and birth and death, of love and sin and 
purification ; of a heaven dreamt of or believed in, or 
somehow actually apprehended ; of life here, and of 
an immortality yearned after and hoped for these 


problems, these mysteries, no philosophy ever did or 
ever can empty of their strangeness, or bring down 
to the level of the commonplace certainties of 
daily life or of science, which are no more than 
shadows after all, that seem certainties because of 
the background of mystery on which they are cast. 

But just as an individual is a higher being, a fuller, 
more truly human creature, when he has got so far 
removed from the merely animal existence as to 
realise that there are such problems and mysteries, 
so also the humanisation of the race, the development 
of its noblest peoples and its noblest literatures, have 
been conditioned by the successive visions of these 
mysteries in more and more complex organisation 
by the great philosophers and poets and preachers. 
The systems of such men may die, but such deaths 
mean, as Empedocles said of the ordinary deaths of 
things, only an infinity of new births. Being dead, 
their systems yet speak in the inherited language 
and ideas and aspirations and beliefs that form the 
never-ending, still-renewing material for new philoso 
phies and new faiths. In Thales, Heraclitus, Pytha 
goras, Parmenides, Empedocles we have been touching 
hands with an apostolic succession of great men and 
great thinkers and great poets men of noble life 
and lofty thoughts, true prophets and revealers. And 
the apostolic succession even within the Greek world 
does not fail for centuries yet. 


Passing from the general conceptions of Empedocles 
to those more particular rationalisations of particular 
problems which very largely provided the motive of 
early philosophies, while scientific methods were in 
an undeveloped and uncritical condition, we may 
notice such interesting statements as the following : 
" The earth, which is at the centre of the sphere of the 135 
universe, remains firm, because the spin of the uni 
verse as a whole keeps it in its place like the water 
in a spinning cup." He has the same conception of 
the early condition of the earth as in other cosmo 
gonies. At first it was a chaos of watery slough, 
which slowly, under the influence of sky and sun, 
parted off into earth and sea. The sea was the 
sweat of the earth, and by analogy with the sweat 
it was salt. The heavens, on the other hand, were 
formed of air and fire, and the sun was, as it were, a 
speculum at which the effulgence and the heat of the 
whole heavens concentrated. But that the aether 
and the fire had not been^ fully separated from earth 
and water he held to be proved by the hot fountains 
and fiery phenomena which must have been so familiar 
to a native of Sicily. Curiously enough he imagined 
fire to possess a solidifying power, and therefore attri 
buted to it the solidity of the earth and the hardness 
of the rocks. No doubt he had observed some effects 
of fire in metamorphic formations in his own 


137 He had also a conception of the gradual develop 
ment on the earth of higher and higher forms of life, 
the first being rude and imperfect, and a * struggle 
for existence ensuing in which the monstrous and 
the deficient gradually were eliminated the " two- 
faced, the double-breasted, the oxen -shaped with 
human prows, or human-shaped with head of ox, or 
hemaphrodite," and so forth. Love and Strife worked 
out their ends upon these varied forms ; some pro 
created and reproduced after their image, others were 
incapable of reproduction from mere monstrosity or 

138 weakness, and disappeared. Something other than 
mere chance thus governed the development of things ; 
there was a law, a reason, a Logos governing the 
process. This law or reason he perhaps fancifully 
illustrated by attributing the different characters of 
flesh and sinew and bone to the different numerical 
proportions, in which they severally contain the 
different elements. 

On this Aristotle, keen-scented critic as he was, 
has a question, or series of questions, to ask as to 
the relation between this Logos, or principle of orderly 
combination, and Love as the ruling force in all 
unions of things. " Is Love," he asks, " a cause of 
mixtures of any sort, or only of such sorts as Logos 
dictates ? And whether then is Love identical with 
this Logos, or are they separate and distinct ; and if 
so, what settles their separate functions ?" Questions 


which Empedocles did not answer, and perhaps would 
not have tried to answer had he heard them. 

The soul or life -principle in man Empedocles 139 
regarded as an ordered composite of all the elements 
or principles of the life in nature, and in this kinship 
of the elements in man and the elements in nature 
he found a rationale of our powers of perception. 
" By the earth," said he, " we have perception of earth ; 
by water we have perception of water ; of the divine 
aether, by aether ; of destructive fire, by fire ; of love, 
by love ; of strife, by strife." He therefore, as Aris 
totle observes, drew no radical distinction between 
sense -apprehension and thought. He located the 
faculty of apprehension more specifically in the blood, 
conceiving that in it the combination of the elements 
was most complete. And the variety of apprehensive 
gift in different persons he attributed to the greater 
or lesser perfectness of this blood mixture in them 
individually. Those that were dull and stupid had 
a relative deficiency of the lighter and more invisible 
elements ; those that were quick and impulsive had 
a relatively larger proportion of these. Again, specific 
faculties depended on local perfection of mixture in 
certain organs ; orators having this perfectness in 
their tongues, cunning craftsmen possessing it in 
their hands, and so on. And the degrees of capacity 
of sensation, which he found in various animals, or 
even plants, he explained in similar fashion. 


The process of sensation he conceived to be con 
ditioned by an actual emission from the bodies per 
ceived of elements or images of themselves which 
found access to our apprehension through channels 

140 congruous to their nature. But ordering, criticising, 
organising these various apprehensions was the Mind 
or Nous, which he conceived to be of divine nature, to 
be indeed an expression or emanation of the Divine. 
And here has been preserved a strangely interesting 
passage, in which he incorporates and develops in 
characteristic fashion the doctrine of transmigration 

141 of souls: "There is a decree of Necessity, a law 
given of old from the gods, eternal, sealed with 
mighty oaths, that when any heavenly creature 
(daemon) of those that are endowed with length of 
days, shall in waywardness of heart defile his hands 
with sin of deed or speech, he shall wander for thrice 
ten thousand seasons far from the dwellings of the 
blest, taking upon him in length of time all manner 
of mortal forms, traversing in turn the many toilsome 
paths of existence. Him the aetherial wrath hurries 
onward to the deep, and the deep spews him forth 
on to the threshold of earth, and unworn earth casts 
him up to the fires of the sun, and again the aether 
hurls him into the eddies. One receives him, and 
then another, but detested is he of them all. Of 
such am I also one, an exile and a wanderer from 
God, a slave to strife and its madness." 


Thus to his mighty conception the life of all crea 
tion, and not of man only, was a great expiation, an 
eternal round of punishment for sin ; and in the un 
ending flux of life each creature rose or fell in the 
scale of existence according to the deeds of good or 
ill done in each successive life ; rising sometimes to 
the state of men, or among men to the high functions 
of physicians and prophets and kings, or among 
beasts to the dignity of the lion, or among trees to 
the beauty of the laurel ; or, on the contrary, sinking 
through sin to lowest forms of bestial or vegetable 
life. Till at the last they who through obedience and 
right-doing have expiated their wrong, are endowed 
by the blessed gods with endless honour, to dwell for 
ever with them and share their banquets, untouched 
any more with human care and sorrow and pain. 

The slaying of any living creature, therefore, 142 
Empedocles, like Pythagoras, abhorred, for all were 
kin. All foul acts were forms of worse than suicide ; 
life should be a long act of worship, of expiation, of 
purification. And in the dim past he pictured a 
vision of a golden age, in which men worshipped not 
many gods, but Love only, and not with sacrifices of 
blood, but with pious images, and cunningly odorous 
incense, and offerings of fragrant myrrh. With 
abstinence also, and above all with that noblest absti 
nence, the abstinence from vice and wrong. 

THE ATOMISTS (concluded} 

variously called a native of Elea, of Abdera, of Melos, 
of Miletus. He was a pupil of Zeno the Eleatic. 

144 Democritus was a native of Abdera. They seem 
to have been almost contemporary with Socrates. 
The two are associated as thorough-going teachers 
of the Atomic Philosophy, but Democritus, the 
laughing philosopher, as he was popularly called 
in later times, in distinction from Heraclitus, the 
weeping philosopher, was much the more famous. 

145 He lived to a great age. He himself refers to 
his travels and studies thus : " Above all the men 
of my time I travelled farthest, and extended my 
inquiries to places the most distant. I visited 
the most varied climates and countries, heard the 
largest number of learned men, nor has any one sur 
passed me in the gathering together of writings and 
their interpretation, no, not even the most learned of 
the Egyptians, with whom I spent five years." We 


are also informed that, through desire of learning, 
he visited Babylon and Chaldaea, to visit the astro 
logers and the priests. 

Democritus was not less prolific as a writer than 146 
he was voracious as a student, and in him first the 
division of philosophy into certain great sections, 
such as physical, mathematical, ethical, was clearly 
drawn. We are, however, mainly concerned with his 147 
teaching in its more strictly philosophical aspects. 
His main doctrine was professedly antithetical to 
that of the Eleatics, who, it will be remembered, 
worked out on abstract lines a theory of one in 
divisible, eternal, immovable Being. Democritus, on 
the contrary, declared for two co-equal elements, the 
Full and the Empty, or Being and Nonentity. The 
latter, he maintained, was as real as the former. As 
we should put it, Body is unthinkable except by 
reference to space which that body does not occupy, 
as well as to space which it does occupy ; and con 
versely Space is unthinkable except by reference to 
body actually or potentially filling or defining it. 

What Democritus hoped to get by this double or 
correlative system was a means of accounting for or 
conceiving of change in nature. The difficulty with 
the Eleatics was, as we have seen, how to understand 
whence or why the transition from that which 
absolutely is, to this strange, at least apparent, sys 
tem of eternal flux and transformation. Democritus 


hoped to get over this difficulty by starting as fully 
with that which is not, in other words, with that 
which wants change in order to have any recognisable 
being at all, as with that which is, and which there 
fore might be conceived as seeking and requiring only 
to be what it is. 

148 Having got his principle of stability and his 
principle of change on an equal footing, Democritus 
next laid it down that all the differences visible in 
things were differences either of shape, of arrange 
ment, or of position ; practically, that is, he considered 
that what seem to us to be qualitative differences in 
things, e.g. hot or cold, sweet or sour, green or yellow, 
are only resulting impressions from different shapes, or 
different arrangements, or different modes of presenta 
tion, among the atoms of which things are composed. 
Coming now to that which is, Democritus, as 
against the Eleatics, maintained that this was not a 
unity, some one immovable, unchangeable existence, 
but an innumerable number of atoms, invisible by 
reason of their smallness, which career through empty 
space (that which is not\ and by their union bring 
objects into being, by/ their separation bring these to 
destruction. The action of these atoms on each other 
depended on the manner in which they were brought 
into contact ; but in any case the unity of any object 
was only an apparent unity, it being really constituted 
of a multitude of interlaced and mutually related 


particles, and all growth or increase of the object 
being conditioned by the introduction into the struc 
ture of additional atoms from without. 

For the motions of the atoms he had no anterior 149 
cause to offer, other than necessity or fate. They 
existed, and necessarily and always had existed, in a 
state of whirl ; and for that which always had been 
he maintained that no preceding cause could legiti 
mately or reasonably be demanded. 

Nothing, then, could come out of nothing ; all the 150 
visible structure of the universe had its origin in the 
movements of the atoms that constituted it, and con 
ditioned its infinite changes. The atoms, by a useful 
but perhaps too convenient metaphor, he called the 
seeds of all things. They were infinite in number, 
though not infinite in the number of their shapes. 
Many atoms were similar to each other, and this 
similarity formed a basis of union among them, a 
warp, so to speak, or solid foundation across which 
the woof of dissimilar atoms played to constitute the 
differences of things. 

Out of this idea of an eternal eddy or whirl 151 
Democritus developed a cosmogony. The lighter 
atoms he imagined flew to the outmost rim of the 
eddy, there constituting the heavenly fires and the 
heavenly aether. The heavier atoms gathered at 
the centre, forming successively air and water and 
the solid earth. Not that there was only one such 


system or world, but rather multitudes of them, all 
varying one from the other ; some without sun or 
moon, others with greater luminaries than those of 
our system, others with a greater number. All, 
however, had necessarily a centre ; all as systems 
were necessarily spherical. 

152 As regards the atoms he conceived that when 
they differed in weight this must be in respect of a 
difference in their essential size. In this he was no 
doubt combating the notion that the atoms say of 
lead or gold were in their substance, taking equal 
quantities, of greater weight than atoms of water or 
air. The difference of weight in objects depended 
on the proportion which the atoms in them bore to 
the amount of empty space which was interlaced 
with them. On the other hand, a piece of iron was 
lighter yet harder than a piece of lead of equal size, 
because of the special way in which the atoms in it 
were linked together. There were fewer atoms in 
it, but they were, in consequence of their structure 
and arrangement, more tightly strung. 

153 In all this Democritus was with great resolution 
working out what we may call a strictly mechanical 
theory of the universe. Even the soul or life- 
principle in living creatures was simply a structure 
of the finest and roundest (and therefore most 
nimble) atoms, with which he compared the extremely 
attenuated dust particles visible in their never-ending 


dance in a beam of light passed into a darkened 
room. This structure of exceeding tenuity and 
nimbleness was the source of the motion character 
istic of living creatures, and provided that elastic 
counteracting force to the inward -pressing nimble 
air, whereby were produced the phenomena of re 
spiration. Every object, in fact, whether living or 
not, kept its form and distinctive existence by its 
possession in degree of a kind of soul or spirit of 
resistance in its structure, adequate to counteract the 
pressure of external forces upon its particles. 

Sensation and perception were forms in which 155 
these external forces acted upon the more nimble and 
lively existences, more particularly on living creatures. 
For every body was continually sending forth ema 
nations or images resembling itself sufficiently in 
form and structure to affect perceptive bodies with 
an apprehension of that form and structure. These 
images travelled by a process of successive trans 
mission, similar to that by which wave-motions are 
propagated in water. They were, in other words, 
not movements of the particles of the objects, which 
latter must otherwise in time grow less and fade 
away, but a modification in the arrangement of the 
particles immediately next the object, which modi 
fication reproduced itself in the next following, and 
so on right through the medium to the perceptive 


156 These images tended by extension in all direc 
tions to reach vast dimensions at times, and to 
influence the minds of men in sleep and on other 
occasions in strange ways. Hence men imagined 
gods, and attributed those mighty phenomena of 
nature earthquakes, tempests, lightning and thunder, 
and dire eclipses of sun and moon, to the vaguely 
visible powers which they imagined they saw. There 
was indeed a soul or spirit of the universe, as there 
was a soul or spirit of every individual thing that 
constituted it. But this was only a finer system of 
atoms after all. All else is convention or dream ; 
the only realities are Atoms and Emptiness, Matter 
and Space. 

157 Of absolute verity through the senses we know 
nothing ; our perceptions are only conventional 
interpretations of we know not what. For to other 
living creatures these same sensations have other 
meanings than they have to us, and even the same 
person is not always affected alike by the same 
thing ; which then is the true of two differing per 
ceptions we cannot say. And therefore either there 
is no such thing as truth, or, at all events, we know 
through the senses nothing of it. The only genuine 
knowledge is that which transcends appearances, 
and reasons out what is, irrespective of appearances, 
in other words, the only genuine knowledge is that 
of the (atomic) philosopher. And his knowledge is 


the result of the happy mixture of his atoms whereby 
all is in equal balance, neither too hot nor too cold. 
Such a man seeing in the mind s eye the whole 
universe a tissue of whirling and interlacing atoms, 
with no real mystery or terror before or after, will 
live a life of cheerful fearlessness, undisturbed by 
terrors of a world to come or of powers unseen. 
His happiness is not in feastings or in gold, but in a 
mind at peace. And three human perfections he 
will seek to attain : to reason rightly, to speak 
graciously, to do his duty. 



A CERTAIN analogy may perhaps be discerned 
between the progression of philosophic thought in 
Greece as we have traced it, and the political develop 
ment which had its course in almost every Greek 
state during the same period. The Ionic philosophy 
may be regarded as corresponding with the kingly 
era in Greek politics. Philosophy sits upon the 
heights and utters its authoritative dicta for the 
resolution of the seeming contradictions of things. 
One principle is master, but the testimony of the 
senses is not denied ; a harmony of thought and 
sensation is sought in the interpretation of appear 
ances by the light of a ruling idea. In Pythagoras 
and his order we have an aristocratic organisation of 
philosophy. Its truths are for the few, the best men 
are the teachers, equal as initiated partakers in the 
mysteries, supreme over all outside their society. A 
reasoned and reasonable order and method are 


symbolised by their theory of Number ; their 
philosophy is political, their politics oligarchic. In 
the Eleatic school we have a succession of personal 
attempts to construct a domination in the theory 
of Nature ; some ideal conception is attempted to be 
so elevated above the data of sensation as to override 
them altogether, and the general result we are now 
to see throughout the philosophic world, as it was 
seen also throughout the world of politics, in a 
total collapse of the principle of forced authority, 
and a development of successively nearer approaches 
to anarchic individualism and doubt. The notion 
of an ultimately true and real, whatever form it 
might assume in various theorists hands, being 
in its essence apart from and even antagonistic to 
the perceptions of sense, was at last definitely cast 
aside as a delusion ; what remained were the 
individual perceptions, admittedly separate, un 
reasoned, unrelated ; Reason was dethroned, Chaos 
was king. In other words, what seemed to any 
individual sentient being at any moment to be, that 
for him was, and nothing else was. The distinction 
between the real and the apparent was definitely 
attempted to be abolished, not as hitherto by reject 
ing the sensually apparent in favour of the rationally 
conceived real, but by the denial of any such real 

The individualistic revolution in philosophy not 


only, however, had analogies with the similar revolu 
tion contemporaneously going on in Greek politics, 
it was greatly facilitated by it. Each, in short, acted 
and reacted on the other. Just as the sceptical 
philosophy of the Encyclopaedists in France promoted 
the Revolution, and the Revolution in its turn 
developed and confirmed the philosophic scepticism, 
so also the collapse of contending philosophies in 
Greece promoted the collapse of contending systems 
of political authority, and the collapse of political 
authority facilitated the growth of that individualism 
in thought with which the name of the Sophists is 

175 Cicero (Brut. 1 2) definitely connects the rise of 
these teachers with the expulsion of the tyrants and 
the establishment of democratic republics in Sicily. 
From 466 to 406 B.C. Syracuse was democratically 
governed, and a ( free career to talents, as in revolu 
tionary France, so also in revolutionary Greece, began 
to be promoted by the elaboration of a system of 
persuasive argument. Devices of method called 
* commonplaces were constructed, whereby, irre 
spective of the truth or falsehood of the subject- 
matter, a favourable vote in the public assemblies, a 
successful verdict in the public courts, might more 
readily be procured. Thus by skill of verbal rhetoric, 
the worse might be made to appear the better reason ; 
and philosophy, so far as it continued its functions, 


became a search, not for the real amidst the 
confusions of the seeming and unreal, but a search for 
the seeming and the plausible, to the detriment, or 
at least to the ignoring, of any reality at all. 

The end of philosophy then was no longer 
universal truth, but individual success ; and con 
sistently enough, the philosopher himself professed 
the individualism of his own point of view, by teaching 
only those who were prepared to pay him for his 
teaching. All over Greece, with the growth of 
democracy, this philosophy of persuasion became 
popular ; but it was to Athens, under Pericles at this 
time the centre of all that was most vivid and splendid 
in Greek life and thought, that the chief teachers of 
the new philosophy flocked from every part of the 
Greek world. 

The first great leader of the Sophists was Prota- 177 
goras. He, it is said, was the first to teach for 
pay ; he also was the first to adopt the name of 
Sophist. In the word Sophist there was indeed latent 
the idea which subsequently attached to it, but as 
first used it seems to have implied this only, that 
skill was the object of the teaching rather than 
truth; the new teachers professed themselves 
practical men, not mere theorists. 

The Greek word, in short, meant an able cultivated 
man in any branch of the arts ; and the development 
of practical capacity was doubtless what Protagoras 


intended to indicate as the purpose of his teaching, 
when he called himself a Sophist. But the ability 
he really undertook to cultivate was ability to 
persuade, for Greece at this time was nothing if not 
political ; and persuasive oratory was the one road 
to political success. And as Athens was the great 
centre of Greek politics, as well as of Greek intellect, 
to Athens Protagoras came as a teacher. 

He was born at Abdera, in Thrace (birthplace 
also of Democritus), in 480 B.C., began to teach at 
Athens about 451 B.C., and soon acquired great 
influence with Pericles, the distinguished leader of the 
Athenian democracy at this time. It is even alleged 
that when in 445 the Athenians were preparing to 
establish a colony at Thurii in Italy, Protagoras was 
requested to draw up a code of laws for the new 
state, and personally to superintend its execution. 

After spending some time in Italy he returned to 
Athens, and taught there with great success for a 
number of years. Afterwards he taught for some 
time in Sicily, and died at the age of seventy, after 
178 about forty years of professional activity. He does 
not seem to have contented himself with the merely 
practical task of teaching rhetoric, but in a work 
which he, perhaps ironically, entitled Truth, he 
enunciated the principles on which he based his 
teaching. Those principles were summed up in the 
sentence, " Man (by which he meant each man) is 


the measure of all things, whether of their existence 
when they do exist, or of their non-existence when 
they do not." In the development of this doctrine 179 
Protagoras starts from a somewhat similar analysis 
of things to that of Heraclitus and others. Every 
thing is in continual flux, and the apparently real 
objects in nature are the mere temporary and 
illusory result of the in themselves invisible move 
ments and minglings of the elements of which they 
are composed ; and not only is it a delusion to 
attempt to give a factitious reality to the things 
which appear, it is equally a delusion to attempt to 
separate the (supposed) thing perceived from the 
perception itself. A thing is only as and when it is 
perceived. And a third delusion is to attempt to 
separate a supposed perceiving mind from the per 
ception ; all three exist only in and through the 
momentary perception ; the supposed reality behind 
this, whether external in the object or internal in the 
mind, is a mere imagination. Thus the Heraclitean 
flux in Nature was extended to Mind also ; only the 
sensation exists, and that only at the moment of its 
occurrence ; this alone is truth, this alone is reality ; 
all else is delusion. 

It followed from this that as a man felt a thing 180 
to be, so for him it veritably was. Thus abstract 
truth or falsity could not be ; the same statements 
could be indifferently true or false to different 


individuals at the same time, to the same individual 
at different times. It followed that all appearances 
were equally true : what seemed to be to any man, 
that was alone the true for him. The relation of 
such a doctrine as this to politics and to morals is 
not far to seek. Every man s opinion was as good 
as another s ; if by persuasion you succeeded in 
altering a man s opinion, you had not deceived the 
man, his new opinion was as true (to him) as the 
old one. Persuasiveness, therefore, was the only 
wisdom. Thus if a man is ill what he eats and 
drinks seems bitter to him, and it is so ; when he is 
well it seems the opposite, and is so. He is not a 
wiser man in the second state than in the first, but 
the second state is pleasanter. If then you can 
persuade him that what he thinks bitter is really 
sweet, you have done him good. This is what the 
physician tries to do by his drugs ; this is what the 
Sophist tries to do by his words. Virtue then is 
teachable in so far as it is possible to persuade a 
boy or a man by rhetoric that that course of conduct 
which pleases others is a pleasant course for him. 
But if any one happens not to be persuaded of this, 
and continues to prefer his own particular course of 
conduct, this is for him the good course. You 
cannot blame him ; you cannot say he is wrong. 
If you punish him you simply endeavour to 
supply the dose of unpleasantness which may 


be needed to put the balance in his case on the 
same side as it already occupies in the case of other 

It may be worth while to anticipate a little, 
and insert here in summary the refutation of this 
position put into the mouth of Socrates by Plato in 
the Theaetetus : " But I ought not to conceal from 
you that there is a serious objection which may be 
urged against this doctrine of Protagoras. For there 
are states, such as madness and dreaming, in which 
perception is false ; and half our life is spent in 
dreaming ; and who can say that at this instant we 
are not dreaming ? Even the fancies of madmen 
are real at the time. But if knowledge is perception, 
how can we distinguish between the true and the 
false in such cases ? . . . Shall I tell you what 
amazes me in your friend Protagoras ? What may 
that be ? I like his doctrine that what appears is ; 
but I wonder that he did not begin his great work 
on truth with a declaration that a pig, or a dog- 
faced baboon, or any other monster which has 
sensation, is a measure of all things ; then while we 
were reverencing him as a god he might have 
produced a magnificent effect by expounding to us 
that he was no wiser than a tadpole. For if truth 
is only sensation, and one man s discernment is as 
good as another s, and every man is his own judge, 
and everything that he judges is right and true, then 



what need of Protagoras to be our instructor at a 
high figure ; and why should we be less knowing 
than he is, or have to go to him, if every man is the 
measure of all things ? " . . . Socrates now resumes 
the argument. As he is very desirous of doing just 
ice to Protagoras, he insists on citing his own words : 
What appears to each man is to him. "And 
how," asks Socrates, "are these words reconcilable 
with the fact that all mankind are agreed in thinking 
themselves wiser than others in some respects, and 
inferior to them in others ? In the hour of danger 
they are ready to fall down and worship any one 
who is their superior in wisdom as if he were a god. 
And the world is full of men who are asking to be 
taught and willing to be ruled, and of other men who 
are willing to rule and teach them. All which 
implies that men do judge of one another s impres 
sions, and think some wise and others foolish. How 
will Protagoras answer this argument ? For he 
cannot say that no one deems another ignorant or 
mistaken. If you form a judgment, thousands 
and tens of thousands are ready to maintain the 
opposite. The multitude may not and do not agree 
in Protagoras own thesis, that man is the measure 
of all things, and then who is to decide ? Upon 
his own showing must not his truth depend on 
the number of suffrages, and be more or less true in 
proportion as he has more or fewer of them ? And 


[the majority being against him] he will be bound to 
acknowledge that they speak truly who deny him to 
speak truly, which is a famous jest And if he 
admits that they speak truly who deny him to speak 
truly, he must admit that he himself does not speak 
truly. But his opponents will refuse to admit this 
as regards themselves, and he must admit that they 
are right in their refusal. The conclusion is, that 
all mankind, including Protagoras himself, will deny 
that he speaks truly ; and his truth will be true 
neither to himself nor to anybody else " (Jowett, 
Plato, iv. pp. 239 sqq.} 

The refutation seems tolerably complete, but a 
good deal had to happen before Greece was ready 
to accept or Plato to offer such a refutation. 


THE SOPHISTS (concluded} 

183 GORGIAS was perhaps even more eminent a 
Sophist than Protagoras. He was a native of 
Leontini in Sicily, and came to Athens in the year 
427 B.C. on a public embassy from his native city. 
The splendid reputation for political and rhetorical 
ability, which preceded him to Athens, he fully 
justified both by his public appearances before the 
Athenian assembly, and by the success of his private 
instructions to the crowds of wealthy young men 
who resorted to him. He dressed in magnificent 
style, and affected a lofty and poetical manner of 
speech, which offended the more critical, but which 
pleased the crowd. 

184 He also, like Protagoras, published a treatise in 
which he expounded his fundamental principles, and 
like Protagoras, he preceded it with a striking if 
somewhat ironical title, and ah apophthegm in which 
he summarised his doctrine. The title of his work 
was Of the Non-Existent, that is, Of Nature, and 


his dictum, " Nothing exists, or if anything exists, 
it cannot be apprehended by man, and even if it 
could be apprehended, the man who apprehended it 
could not expound or explain it to his neighbour." 
In support of this strange doctrine, Gorgias adopted 
the quibbling method of argument which had been 
applied with some success to dialectical purposes by 
Zeno, Melissus, and others (see above, pp. 44 sqq^) 

His chief argument to prove the first position laid 185 
down by him depended on a double and ambiguous 
use of the word is ; " That which is not, is the non 
existent : the word is must, therefore, be applicable 
to it as truly as when we say That which is, is ; 
therefore, being is predicable of that which is not." 
So conversely he proved not-being to be predicable 
of that which is. And in like manner he made away 
with any possible assertions as to the finite or infinite, 
the eternal or created, nature of that which is. Logic 
could supply him with alternative arguments from 
whatever point he started, such as would seem 
to land the question in absurdity. Hence his 
first position was (he claimed) established, that 
Nothing is. 

To prove the second, that even if anything is, 186 
it cannot be known to man, he argued thus : " If 
what a man thinks is not identical with what is, 
plainly what is cannot be thought. And that what 
a man thinks is not identical with what is can be 


shown from the fact that thinking does not affect 
the facts. You may imagine a man flying, or a 
chariot coursing over the deep, but you do not find 
these things to occur because you imagine them. 
Again, if we assume that what we think is identical 
with what is, then it must be impossible to think of 
what is not. But this is absurd ; for we can think 
of such admittedly imaginary beings as Scylla and 
Chimaera, and multitudes of others. There is there 
fore no necessary relation between our thoughts and 
any realities ; we may believe, but we cannot prove, 
which (if any) of our conceptions have relation to an 
external fact and which have not. 

187 Nor thirdly, supposing any man had obtained an 
apprehension of what is real, could he possibly com 
municate it to any one else. If a man saw anything, 
he could not possibly by verbal description make 
clear what it is he sees to a man who has never 
seen. And so if a man has not himself the appre 
hension of reality, mere words from another cannot 
possibly give him any idea of it. He may imagine 
he has the same idea as the speaker, but where is he 
going to get the common test by which to establish 
the identity ? 

Without attempting to follow Gorgias further, we 
can see plainly enough the object and purport of the 
whole doctrine. Its main result is to isolate. It 
isolates each man from his fellows ; he cannot tell 


what they know or think, they cannot reach any 
common ground with him. It isolates him from 
nature ; he cannot tell what nature is, he cannot tell 
whether he knows anything of nature or reality at 
all. It isolates him from himself; he cannot tell for 
certain what relation exists (if any) between what 
he imagines he perceives at any moment and any 
remembered or imagined previous experiences ; he 
cannot be sure that there ever were any such experi 
ences, or what that self was (if anything) which 
had them, or whether there was or is any self per 
ceiving anything. 

Let us imagine the moral effect on the minds of 
the ablest youth of Greece of such an absolute 
collapse of belief. The philosophic scepticism did 
not deprive them of their appetites or passions ; it 
did not in the least alter their estimate of the prizes 
of success, or the desirability of wealth and power. 
All it did was to shatter the invisible social bonds of 
reverence and honour and truth and justice, which in 
greater or less degree act as a restraining force upon 
the purely selfish appetites of men. Not only belief 
in divine government disappeared, but belief in any 
government external or internal ; justice became a 
cheating device to deprive a man of what was ready 
to his grasp ; good-faith was stupidity when it was 
not a more subtle form of deceit ; morality was at 
best a mere convention which a man might cancel if 


he pleased ; the one reality was the appetite of the 
moment, the one thing needful its gratification ; 
society, therefore, was universal war, only with 
subtler weapons. 

Of course Protagoras and Gorgias were only 
notable types of a whole horde of able men who in 
various ways, and with probably less clear notions 
than these men of the drift or philosophic significance 
of their activity, helped all over Greece in the pro 
mulgation of this new gospel of self-interest. Many 
Sophists no doubt troubled themselves very little 
with philosophical questions ; they were agnostics, 
know-nothings ; all they professed to do was to 
teach some practical skill of a verbal or rhetorical 
character. They had nothing to do with the nature 
or value of ideals ; they did not profess to say 
whether any end or aim was in itself good or bad, 
but given an end or aim, they were prepared to help 
those who hired them to acquire a skill which would 
be useful towards attaining it. 

But whether a philosophy or ultimate theory of 
life be expressly stated or realised by a nation or an 
individual, or be simply ignored by them, there 
always is some such philosophy or theory underlying 
their action, and that philosophy or theory tends to 
work itself out to its logical issue in action, whether 
men openly profess it or no. And the theory of 
negation of law in nature or in man which underlay 


the sophistic practice had its logical and necessary 
effect on the social structure throughout Greece, in a 
loosening of the bonds of religion, of family rever 
ence and affection, of patriotism, of law, of honour. 
Thucydides in a well-known passage (iii. 82) thus 
describes the prevalent condition of thought in 
his own time, which was distinctively that of the 
sophistic teaching : " The common meaning of 
words was turned about at men s pleasure ; the 
most reckless bravo was deemed the most desirable 
friend ; a man of prudence and moderation was 
styled a coward ; a man who listened to reason was 
a good-for-nothing simpleton. People were trusted 
exactly in proportion to their violence and unscrupu- 
lousness, and no one was so popular as the successful 
conspirator, except perhaps one who had been clever 
enough to outwit him at his own trade, but any one 
who honestly attempted to remove the causes of such 
treacheries was considered a traitor to his party. As 
for oaths, no one imagined they were to be kept a 
moment longer than occasion required ; it was, in 
fact, an added pleasure to destroy your enemy if you 
had managed to catch him through his trusting to 
your word." 

These are the words not of Plato, who is supposed 
often enough to allow his imagination to carry him 
beyond his facts about the Sophists as about others, 
nor are they the words of a satiric poet such as 



Aristophanes. They are the words of the most 
sober and philosophic of Greek historians, and they 
illustrate very strikingly the tendency, nay, the 
absolute necessity, whereby the theories of philoso 
phers in the closet extend themselves into the 
market-place and the home, and find an ultimate 
realisation of themselves for good or for evil in the 
business and bosoms of the common crowd. 

It is not to be said that the individualistic and 
iconoclastic movement which the Sophists represented 
was wholly bad, or wholly unnecessary, any more 
(to again quote a modern instance) than that the 
French Revolution was. There was much, no doubt, 
in the traditional religion and morality of Greece at 
that time which represented obsolete and antiquated 
conditions, when every city lived apart from its 
neighbours with its own narrow interests and local 


cults and ceremonials. Greece was ceasing to be an 
unconnected crowd of little separate communities ; 
unconsciously it was preparing itself for a larger 
destiny, that of conqueror and civiliser of East 
and West. This scepticism, utterly untenable and 
unworkable on the lines extravagantly laid down 
by its leading teachers, represented the birth of 
new conditions of thought and action adapted to 
the new conditions of things. On the surface, and 
accepted literally, it seemed to deny the possibility of 
knowledge ; it threatened to destroy humanity and 


civilisation. But its strength lay latent in an 
implied denial only of what was merely traditional ; it 
denied the finality of purely Greek preconceptions ; 
it was laying the foundations of a broader humanity. 
It represented the claim of a new generation to have 
no dogma or assumption thrust on it by mere force, 
physical or moral " / too am a man," it said ; " / 
have rights ; my reason must be convinced." This 
is the fundamental thought at the root of most 
revolutions and reformations and revivals, and the 
thought is therefore a necessary and a just one. 

Unfortunately it seems to be an inevitable con 
dition of human affairs that nothing new, however 
necessary or good can come into being out of the 
old, without much sorrow and many a birth-pang. 
The extravagant, the impetuous, the narrow-minded 
on both sides seize on their points of difference, 
raise them into battle-cries, and make what might 
be a peaceful regeneration a horrid battlefield of 
contending hates. The Christ when He comes 
brings not peace into the world, but a sword. And 
men of evil passions and selfish ambitions are quick 
on both sides to make the struggle of old and new 
ideals a handle for their own indulgence or their 
own advancement ; the Pharisees and the Judases 
between them make the Advent in some of its aspects 
a sorry spectacle. 

A reconciler was wanted who should wed what 


was true in the new doctrine of individualism with 
what was valuable in the old doctrine of universal 
and necessary truth ; who should be able to say, 
"Yes, I acknowledge that your individual view of 
things must be reckoned with, and mine, and every 
body else s ; and for that very reason do I argue for 
a universal and necessary truth, because the very 
truth for you as an individual is just this universal." 
The union and identification of the Individual and 
Universal, this paradox of philosophy is the doctrine 
of Socrates 



THE sophistic teaching having forced philosophy to 
descend into the practical interests and personal 
affairs of men, it followed that any further step in 
philosophy, any reaction against the Sophists, could 
only begin from the moral point of view. Philosophy, 
as an analysis of the data of perception or of nature, 
had issued in a social and moral chaos. Only by 
brooding on the moral chaos could the spirit of truth 
evoke a new order ; only out of the moral darkness 
could a new intellectual light be made to shine. 
The social and personal anarchy seemed to be a 
reductio ad dbsurdum of the philosophy of nature ; if 
ever the philosophy of nature was to be recovered it 
must be through a revision of the theory of morals. 
If it could be proved that the doctrine of individual 
ism, of isolation, which the analysis of a Protagoras 
or a Gorgias had reached, was not only unlivable 
but unthinkable, carried the seeds of its own de 
struction, theoretical as well as practical, within 


itself, then the analysis of perception, from which 
this moral individualism issued, might itself be called 
to submit to revision, and a stable point of support 
in the moral world might thus become a centre of 
stability for the intellectual and the physical also. 

By a perfectly logical process, therefore, the crisis 
of philosophy produced in Greece through the moral 
and social chaos of the sophistic teaching had two 
issues, or perhaps we may call it one issue, carried 
out on the one side with a less, on the other side 
with a greater completeness. The less complete 
reaction from sophistic teaching attempted only such 
reconstruction of the moral point of view as should 
recover a law or principle of general and universally 
cogent character, whereon might be built anew a 
moral order without attempting to extend the in 
quiry as to a universal principle into the regions of 
abstract truth or into physics. The more complete 
and logical reaction, starting, indeed, from a universal 
principle in morals, undertook a logical reconstruction 
on the recovered universal basis all along the line of 
what was knowable. 

To Socrates it was given to recover the lost point 
of stability in the world of morals, and by a system 
of attack, invented by himself, to deal in such a 
manner with the anarchists about him as to prepare 
the way for his successors, when the time was ripe 
for a more extended exposition of the new point of 


view. Those who in succession to him worked out 
a more limited theory of law, mainly or exclusively 
in the world of morals, only were called the Incom 
plete Socratics. Those who undertook to work it 
out through the whole field of the knowable, the 
Complete Socratics, were the two giants of philosophy, 
Plato and Aristotle. 

Greek philosophy then marks with the life of 
Socrates a parting of the ways in two senses : first, 
inasmuch as with him came the reaction from a 
physical or theoretical philosophy, having its issue in 
a moral chaos ; and second, inasmuch as from him 
the two great streams of later philosophy issued 
the one a philosophy of law or universals in action, 
the other a philosophy of law or universals in thought 
and nature as well. 

Socrates, son of Sophroniscus a sculptor and 
Phaenarete a midwife, was born at Athens in or 
about the year 469 B.C. His parents were probably 
poor, for Socrates is represented as having been too 
poor to pay the fees required for instruction by the 
Sophists of his time. But in whatever way acquired 
or assimilated, it is certain that there was little of 
the prevalent culture in cultivated Athens with which 
Socrates had not ultimately a working acquaintance. 

Among a people distinguished generally for their 
handsome features and noble proportions, Socrates 
was a notable exception. His face was squat and 


round, his eyes protruding, his lips thick ; he was 
clumsy and uncouth in appearance, careless of dress, 
a thorough Bohemian, as we should call him. He 
was, however, gifted with an uncommon bodily 
vigour, was indifferent to heat and cold, by tempera 
ment moderate in food and drink, yet capable on 
occasion of drinking most people under the table. 
He was of an imperturbable humour, not to be 
excited either by danger or by ridicule. His vein 
of sarcasm was keen and trenchant, his natural 
shrewdness astonishing, all the more astonishing 
because crossed with a strange vein of mysticism 
and a curious self-forgetfulness. As he grew up he 
felt the visitation of a mysterious internal voice, to 
which or to his own internal communings he would 
sometimes be observed to listen in abstracted stillness 
for hours. The voice within him was felt as a 
restraining force, limiting his action in various ways, 
but leaving him free to wander about among his 
fellows, to watch their doings and interpret their 
thoughts, to question unweariedly his fellows of 
every class, high and low, rich and poor, concerning 
righteousness and justice and goodness and purity 
and truth. -He did not enter on his philosophic 
work with some grand general principle ready-made, 
to which he was prepared to fit the facts by hook 
or by crook. Rather he compared himself to his 
mother, the midwife ; he sought to help others to 


express themselves ; he had nothing to tell them, he 
wanted them to tell him. This was the irony of 
Socrates, the eternal questioning, which in time came 
to mean in people s minds what the word does now. 
For it was hard, and grew every year harder, to 
convince people that so subtle a questioner was as 
ignorant as he professed to be ; or that the man who 
could touch so keenly the weak point of all other 
men s answers, had no answer to the problems of life 

In striking contrast, then, to the method of all 
previous philosophies, Socrates busied himself to 
begin with, not with some general intellectual 
principle, but with a multitude of different people, 
with their notions especially on moral ideas, with the 
meaning or no-meaning which they attached to par 
ticular words, in short, with the individual, the par 
ticular, the concrete, the every-day. He did not at 
all deny that he had a purpose in all this. On the 
contrary, he openly professed that he was in search 
of the lost universal, the lost law of men s thoughts 
and actions. He was convinced that life was not 
the chaos that the Sophists made out ; that nobody 
really believed it to be a chaos ; that, on the contrary, 
everybody had a meaning and purport in his every 
word and act, which could be made intelligible to him 
self and others, if you could only get people to think 
out clearly what they really meant. Philosophy 


had met her destruction in the busy haunts of men ; 
there where had been the bane, Socrates firm faith 
sought ever and everywhere the antidote. 

This simple enough yet profound and far- 
reaching practice of Socrates was theorised in later 
times as a logical method, known to us as Induction, 
or the discovery of universal laws or principles out 
195 of an accumulation of particular facts. And thus 
Aristotle, with his technical and systematising 
intellect, attributes two main innovations in philo 
sophy to Socrates ; the Inductive process of reason 
ing, and the establishing of General Ideas or 
Definitions upon or through this process. This, true 
enough as indicating what was latent in the Socratic 
method, and what was subsequently actually de 
veloped out of it by Aristotle himself, is nevertheless 
probably an anachronism if one seeks to repre 
sent it as consciously present in Socrates mind. 
Socrates adopted the method unconsciously, just 
because he wanted to get at the people about him, 
and through them at what they thought. He was 
the pioneer of Induction rather than its inventor ; he 
created, so to speak, the raw material for a theory of 
induction and definition ; he knew and cared nothing 
about such theories himself. 

A story which may or may not be true in fact 
is put in Socrates mouth by Plato, as to the cause 
which first started him on his " search for definitions." 


One of his friends, he tells us, named Chaerephon, 
went to the oracle of Apollo at Delphi, and asked 
whether there was anybody wiser than Socrates. 
The answer was given that there was none wiser. 
This answer was reported to Socrates, who was 
much astonished, his own impression being that he 
had no wisdom or knowledge at all. So with a view 
to prove the oracle wrong he went in succession to 
various people of eminence and reputation in the 
various walks of life, statesmen and poets and handi 
craftsmen and others, in the expectation that they 
would show, on being questioned, such a knowledge 
of the principles on which their work was based as 
would prove their superior wisdom. But to his 
astonishment he found one after another of these 
men wanting in any apprehension of principles at 
all. They seemed to work by a kind of haphazard 
or rule of thumb, and indeed felt annoyed that 
anything more should be expected of them. From 
which at the last Socrates came to the conclusion 
that perhaps the oracle was right in this sense at 
least, that, if he himself knew nothing more than 
his fellows, he was at least conscious of his own 
ignorance, whereas they were not. 

Whether this tale may not itself be a specimen of 
Socrates irony we cannot tell, but at all events it 
illustrates from another point of view the real mean 
ing of Socrates life. He, at least, was not content 


to rest in haphazard and rule of thumb ; he was 
determined to go on till he found out what was the 
law or principle of men s acts and words. The 
ignorance of others as to any such law or principle 
in their own case did not convince him that there 
was no such law or principle ; only it was there (he 
thought) working unconsciously, and therefore in a 
way defencelessly. And so he compares himself at 
times to a gadfly, whose function it is to sting and 
irritate people out of their easy indifference, and force 
them to ask themselves what they were really driving 
at. Or again, he compares himself to the torpedo- 
fish, because he tried to give people a shock when 
ever they attempted to satisfy him with shallow and 
unreal explanations of their thoughts and actions. 

The disinterested self-sacrificing nobility of So 
crates life, thus devoted to awakening them that 
sleep out of their moral torpor ; the enmities that 
his keen and trenchant questionings of quacks and 
pretenders of every kind induced ; the devotion 
of some of his friends, the unhappy falling away 
of others ; the calumnies of interested enemies, 
the satires of poets ; and lastly, the story of the 
final attack by an ungrateful people on their one 
great teacher, of his unjust condemnation and heroic 
death all this we must pass over here. The 
story is in outline, at least, a familiar one, and it is 
one of the noblest in history. What is more to 


the purpose for us is to ascertain how far his search 
for definitions was successful ; how far he was 
able to 

Take arms against a sea of troubles 

And by opposing end them ; 

how far, in short, he was able to evolve a law, a 
universal principle, out of the confused babel of 
common life and thought and speech, strong enough 
and wide enough on which to build a new order for 
this world, a new hope for the world beyond. 

We have said that Socrates made the individual 
and the concrete the field of his search. And not 
only did he look to individuals for light, he looked 
to each individual specifically in that aspect of his 
character and faculty which was most particular to 
himself. That is to say, if he met a carpenter, it 
was on his carpentering that he questioned him ; if 
a sculptor, on his practice as a sculptor ; if a states 
man, on his statesmanship. In short, he did not 
want general vague theories on subjects of which his 
interlocutors could not be supposed to have any 
special experience or knowledge ; he interrogated 
each on the subject which he knew best. 

And what struck him, in contrast to the confusion 
and uncertainty and isolation of the sophistic teach 
ing in the air/ was that when you get a man to 
talk on his own trade, which he knoivs, as is proved by 
the actual work he produces, you find invariably two 



things -first, that the skill is the man s individual 
possession no doubt, the result of inborn capacity 
and continuous training and practice ; but second, 
that just in proportion to that individual skill is the 
man s conviction that his skill has reference to a law 
higher than himself, outside himself. If the man 
whom Socrates interviewed was a skilful statesman, 
he would tell you he sought to produce obedience to 
law or right among the citizens ; if he was a skilful 
sculptor, he produced beautiful things ; if he was a 
skilful handicraftsman, he produced useful things. 
Justice, beauty, utility ; these three words in different 
ways illustrated the existence of something always 
realising itself no doubt in individuals and their 
works, but nevertheless exercising a governing in 
fluence upon these to such a degree that this ideal 
something might be conceived as prior to the indi 
vidual or his work ; or secondly, as inherent in them 
and giving value to them ; or thirdly, as coming in 
at the end as the perfection or completion of them. 
This law or ideal then had a threefold aspect in its 
own nature, being conceivable as Justice, as Beauty, 
as Utility ; it had a threefold aspect in relation to 
the works produced in accordance with it, as the 
cause producing, the cause inhering, the cause com 
pleting or perfecting. 

We may therefore conceive Socrates as arguing 
thus : " You clever Sophists, when we let you take 


us into the region of abstract talk, have a knack of 
so playing with words that in the end we don t seem 
to know anything for certain, especially on such 
subjects as we have hitherto thought the most im 
portant, such as God and right and truth and justice 
and purity. We seem to be perfectly defenceless 
against you ; and what is more, any smart youth, 
whose opinion on any practical matter no one would 
think of taking, can very soon pick up the trick from 
you, and bewilder plain people really far wiser than 
himself by his clever argumentation ; all going to 
prove that there is nothing certain, nothing real, 
nothing binding ; nothing but opinions and con 
ventions and conscious or unconscious humbug in 
the universe. 

" But when I go and have a quiet talk with any 
man who really is a known master of some craft or 
skill, about that craft or skill, I find no doubt what 
ever existing in his mind about there being a law, a 
something absolutely real and beautiful and true in 
connection with it He, on the contrary, lives with 
no other purpose or hope or desire but as far as he 
can to realise in what he works at something of this 
real and beautiful and true, which was before him, 
will be after him, is the only valuable thing in him, 
but yet which honours him with the function of, in 
his day and generation, expressing it before the eyes 
of men. 


" Have we not here a key to the great secret ? 
If each man, in respect of that which he knows best 
because he lives by it and for it, knows with intimate 
knowledge and certainty that there at least there is 
a Law working, not himself, but higher and greater 
than he, have we not here a hint of the truth for 
the universe as a whole ; that there also and in all 
its operations, great as well as small, there must be a 
Law, a great Idea or Ideal working, which was before 
all things, works in and gives value to all things, will 
be the consummation of all things ? Is not this 
what we mean by the Divine?" 

Thus Socrates, despising not the meaner things 
of life, but bending from the airy speculations of the 
proud to the realities which true labour showed him, 
laid his ear, so to speak, close to the breast of nature, 
and caught there the sound of her very heart-beats. 

" Virtue is knowledge," thus he formulated his 
new vision of things. Knowledge, yes ; but real 
knowledge ; not mere head-knowledge or lip-know 
ledge, but the knowledge of the skilled man, the 
man who by obedience and teachableness and self- 
restraint has come to a knowledge evidencing itself 
in works expressive of the law that is in him, as he 
is in it. Virtue is knowledge ; on the one hand, 
therefore, not something in the air, unreal, intangible ; 
but something in me, in you, in each man, something 
which you cannot handle except as individual and 


in individuals ; on the other hand, something more 
than individual or capricious or uncertain, some 
thing which is absolute, over-ruling, eternal. 

Virtue is knowledge. And so if a man is 
virtuous, he is realising what is best and truest in 
himself, he is fulfilling also what is best and truest 
without himself. He is free, for only the truth 
makes free ; he is obedient to law, but it is at once 
a law eternally valid, and a law which he dictates to 
himself. And therefore virtue is teachable, inasmuch 
as the law in the teacher, perfected in him, is also 
the law in the taught, latent in him, by both indi 
vidually possessed, but possessed by both in virtue 
of its being greater than both, of its being something 
more than individual. 

Virtue is knowledge. And therefore the law 
of virtuous growth is expressed in the maxim 
engraved on the Delphic temple, Know thyself. 
Know thyself, that is, realise thyself; by obedience 
and self-control come to your full stature ; be in fact 
what you are in possibility ; satisfy yourself, in the 
only way in which true self-satisfaction is possible, 
by realising in yourself the law which constitutes 
your real being. 

Virtue is knowledge. And therefore all the 
manifold relations of life, the home, the market, 
the city, the state ; all the . multiform activities of 
life, labour and speech and art and literature and 



law ; all the sentiments of life, friendship and love 
and reverence and courage and hope, all these are 
parts of a knowable whole ; they are expressions 
of law ; they are Reason realising itself through 
individuals, and in the same process realising them. 

SOCRATES (concluded} 

IT must not be imagined that anywhere in the 
recorded conversations of Socrates can we find thus 
in so many words expounded his fundamental 
doctrine. Socrates was not an expositor but a 
questioner ; he disclaimed the position of a teacher, 
he refused to admit that any were his pupils or 
disciples. But his questioning had two sides, each 
in its way leading people on to an apprehension of 
the ideal in existence. The first side may be called 
the negative or destructive, the second, the positive 
or constructive. In the first, whose object was to 
break down all formalism, all mere regard for rules 
or traditions or unreasoned maxims, his method had 
considerable resemblance to that of the Sophists ; 
like them he descended not infrequently to what 
looked very like quibbling and word-play. As 
Aristotle observes, the dialectic method differed from 
that of the Sophists not so much in its form, as in the 
purpose for which it was employed. The end of the 


Sophists was to confuse, the end of Socrates was 
through confusion to reach a more real, because a 
more reasoned certainty ; the Sophists sought to 
leave the impression that there was no such thing 
as truth ; he wished to lead people to the conviction 
that there was a far deeper truth than they were as 
yet possessed of. 

A specimen of his manner of conversation pre 
served for us by Xenophon (Memor. IV. ii.) will 
make the difference clearer. Euthydemus was a 
young man who had shown great industry in forming 
a collection of wise sayings from poets and others, 
and who prided himself on his superior wisdom 
because of his knowledge of these. Socrates skilfully 
manages to get the ear of this young man by com 
mending him for his collection, and asks him what 
he expects his learning to help him to become ? A 
physician ? No, Euthydemus answers. An architect ? 
No. And so in like manner with other practical 
skills, the geometrician s, astronomer s, professional 
reciter s. None of these he discovers is what Euthy 
demus aims at. He hopes to become a great 
politician and statesman. Then of course he hopes 
to be a just man himself? Euthydemus flatters 
himself he is that already. " But," says Socrates, 
" there must be certain acts which are the proper 
products of justice, as of other functions or skills ?" 
" No doubt." " Then of course you can tell us what 


those acts or products are?" " Of course I can, and 
the products of injustice as well." " Very good ; 
then suppose we write down in two opposite columns 
what acts are products of justice and what of in 
justice." "I agree," says Euthydemus. "Well 
now, what of falsehood ? In which column shall we 
put it?" " Why, of course in the unjust column." 
" And cheating?" " In the same column." " And 
stealing ?" "In it too."" And enslaving ?" " Yes." 
" Not one of these can go to the just column ?" 
" Why, that would be an unheard-of thing." 

" Well but," says Socrates, " suppose a general 
has to deal with some enemy of his country that has 
done it great wrong ; if he conquer and enslave this 
enemy, is that wrong?" "Certainly not." "If he 
carries off the enemy s goods or cheats him in his 
strategy, what about these acts?" "Oh, of course 
they are quite right. But I thought you were talk 
ing about deceiving or ill-treating friends." " Then 
in some cases we shall have to put these very same 
acts in both columns?" " I suppose so." 

" Well, now, suppose we confine ourselves to 
friends. Imagine a general with an army under 
him discouraged and disorganised. Suppose he tells 
them that reserves are coming up, and by cheat 
ing them into this belief he saves them from their 
discouragement, and enables them to win a victory. 
What about this cheating of one s friends?" "Why, I 


suppose we shall have to put this too on the just 
side." " Or suppose a lad needs medicine, but 
refuses to take it, and his father cheats him into 
the belief that it is something nice, and getting him 
to take it, saves his life ; what about that cheat ? " 
" That will have to go to the just side too." " Or 
suppose you find a friend in a desperate frenzy, and 
steal his sword from him, for fear he should kill him 
self ; what do you say to that theft ? " " That will 
have to go there too." " But I thought you said there 
must be no cheating of friends ? " " Well, I must 
take it all back, if you please." "Very good. But 
now there is another point I should like to ask you. 
Whether do you think the man more unjust who is 
a voluntary violator of justice, or he who is an 
involuntary violator of it?" "Upon my word, 
Socrates, I no longer have any confidence in my 
answers. For the whole thing has turned out to be 
exactly the contrary of what I previously imagined. 
However, suppose I say that the voluntary deceiver 
is the more unjust." " Do you consider that justice 
is a matter of knowledge just as much (say) as writ 
ing ?___ Yes, I do." "Well now, which do you 
consider the better skilled as a writer, the man who 
makes a mistake in writing or in reading what is 
written, because he chooses to do so, or the man who 
does so because he can t help it ? " " Oh, the first ; 
because he can put it -right whenever he likes." 


"Very well, if a man in the same way breaks the 
rule of right, knowing what he is doing, while an 
other breaks the same rule because he can t help it, 
which by analogy must be the better versed in 
justice?" "The first, I suppose." "And the man 
who is better versed in justice must be the juster 
man ? " " Apparently so ; but really, Socrates, I 
don t know where I am. I have been flattering 
myself that I was in possession of a philosophy 
which could make a good and able man of me. But 
how great, think you, must now be my disappoint 
ment, when I find myself unable to answer the 
simplest question on the subject ? " 

Many other questions are put to him, tending to 
probe his self-knowledge, and in the end he is 
brought to the conclusion that perhaps he had better 
hold his tongue, for it seems he knows nothing at 
all. And so he went away deeply despondent, 
despising himself as an absolute dolt. " Now 
many," adds Xenophon, " when brought into this 
condition by Socrates, never came near him again. 
But Euthydemus concluded that his only hope of 
ever being worth anything was in seeing as much of 
Socrates as he could, and so he never quitted his 
side as long as he had a chance, but tried to follow 
his mode of living. And Socrates, when he per 
ceived this to be his temper, no longer tormented 
him, but sought with all simplicity and clearness to 


show him what he deemed it best for him to do and 

Was this cross-examination mere * tormenting 
with a purpose, or can we discover underlying it any 
hint of what Socrates deemed to be the truth about 
justice ? 

Let us note that throughout he is in search of a 
definition, but that as soon as any attempt is made 
to define or classify any particular type of action as 
just or unjust, special circumstances are suggested 
which overturn the classification. Let us note 
further that while the immediate result is apparently 
only to confuse, the remoter but more permanent 
result is to raise a suspicion of any hard and fast 
definitions, and to suggest that there is something 
deeper in life than language is adequate to express, 
a law in the members/ a living principle for good, 
which transcends forms and maxims, and which 
alone gives real value to acts. Note further the 
suggestion that this living principle has a character 
analogous to the knowledge or skill of an accom 
plished artificer ; it has relation on the one hand to 
law, as a principle binding on the individual, it has 
relation on the other hand to utility, as expressing 
itself, not in words, but in acts beneficial to those 
concerned. Hence the Socratic formula, Justice is 
equivalent to the Lawful on the one hand, to the 
Useful on the other. 


Socrates had thus solved by anticipation the 
apparently never-ending controversy about morality. 
Is it a matter imposed by God upon the heart and 
conscience of each individual ? Is it dictated by the 
general sense of the community ? Is it the product 
of Utility? The Socratic answer would be that it 
is all three, and that all three mean ultimately the 
same thing. What^God prescribes is what man when 
he is trulyjnan desires ; and what God prescribes 
and man desires is that which is good and useful 
for man. It is not a matter for verbal definition but 
for vital realisation ; the true morality is that which 
works ; the ideally desirable, is ultimately the only 
possible, course of action, for all violations of it are 
ultimately suicidal. 

Note finally the suggestion that the man who 
knoivs (in Socrates sense of knowledge) what is 
right, shows only more fully his righteousness when 
he voluntarily sins ; it is the unwilling sinner who 
is the wrongdoer. When we consider this strange 
doctrine in relation to the instances given, the 
general with his army, the father with his son, the 
prudent friend with his friend in desperate straits, 
we see that what is meant is that c sin in_the real 

some formal standard^ ^ least UP , 
thecase of hose who jr^^Jj^tj^j n, thp rgg_of^ 
goodness in itsjtnieLQaturejn 


their characters and lives. As St. Paul expressed it 
(Rom. xiii. 10), "Love is the fulfilling of the law." 
Or again (Gal. v. 23), after enumerating the fruits 
of the spirit love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentle 
ness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance he adds, 
"Against such there is no law." 

In the domain of life, not less than in that of the 
arts, the highest activity does not always or neces 
sarily take the form of conformity to rule. There 
are critical moments when rules fail, when, in fact, 
obedience to rule would mean disobedience to that 
higher law, of which rules and formulae are at best 
only an adumbration. The originality of the great 
musician or painter consists in just such tran 
scendence of accepted formulae ; this is why he in 
variably encounters opposition and obloquy from the 
learned conventional pedants of his time. And in 
the domain of morals the martyrs, reformers, prophets 
are in like manner willing sinners. They are 
denounced, persecuted, crucified ; for are they not 
disturbers of society ; do they not unsettle young 
men ; do they not come, as Christ came, not 
to bring peace into the world, but a sword ? And 
thus it is that the willing sinners of one generation 
are the martyrs and heroes of the next. Through 
their life and death a richer meaning has been given 
to the law of beauty or of rectitude, only, alas ! in 
its turn to be translated into new conventions, new 


formulae, which shall in due time require new martyrs 
to transcend them. And thus, on the other hand, 
the perfectly honest sticklers for the old and common 
place, unwilling sinners all unconscious of their sin, 
are fated to bear in history the brand of men who 
have persecuted the righteous without cause. To 
each, according to the strange sad law of life, time 
brings its revenges. 



was a native of Cyrene, a Greek colony on the north 
coast of Africa. He is said to have come to Athens 
because of his desire to hear Socrates ; but from the 
notices of him which we find in Xenophon s memoirs 
he appears to have been from the first a somewhat 
intractable follower, dissenting especially from the 
poverty and self-denial of the master s mode of life. 

205 He in course of time founded a school of his own, 
called the Cyrenaic from his own place of birth, and 
from the fact that many subsequent leaders of the 
school also belonged to Cyrene. Among his notable 
disciples were his daughter Arete, her son named 
Aristippus after his grandfather, Ptolemaeus the 
Aethiopian, Antipater of Cyrene, and a long succes 
sion of others. 

Aristippus was a man of considerable subtlety of 
mind, a ready speaker, clever in adapting himself to 
persons and circumstances. On one occasion, being 


asked what benefit he considered philosophy had 
conferred upon him, he answered, " The capacity of 
associating with every one without embarrassment." 
Philosophy, in fact, was to Aristippus a method of 
social culture, a means of making the best of life as 
he found it. As Horace observes of him (Epp. i. 
17- 23) 

Omnis Aristippum decuit color et status et res 
Tentantem majora, fere praesentibus aequum. 

" Every aspect and manner of life and fortune fitted 
Aristippus ; he aimed at what was greater, yet kept 
an even mind whatever his present condition." 

As we have already said, this school was incom- 206 
pletely Socratic, inasmuch as philosophy was not an 
end in itself, knowledge whether of oneself or of other 
matters had no intrinsic interest for them ; philo 
sophy was only a means towards pleasurable living, 
enabling them so to analyse and classify the several 
experiences of life as to render a theory of satisfactory 
existence possible. With them first came into promi- 207 
nence a phrase which held a large place in all sub 
sequent Greek philosophy, the End of existence, by 
which was meant that which summed up the good in 
existence, that which made life worth living, that 
which was good and desirable in and for itself, and 
not merely as a means to something else. What 
then according to the Cyrenaics was the End of life ? 


Their answer was that life had at each moment its 
own End, in the pleasure of that moment. The past 
was gone, the future not yet with us ; remembrance 
of the one, fear or hope of the other, might contribute 
to affect the purity of the present pleasure, but such 
as it was the present pleasure was a thing apart, 
complete in and for itself. Nor was its perfection 
qualified by any question of the means by which it 
was procured ; the moment s pleasure was pleasur 
able, whatever men might say as to the manner of its 

208 procuring. This pleasure was a tranquil activity of 
the being, like the gently heaving sea, midway be 
tween violent motion which was pain, and absolute 
calm which was insensibility. As a state of activity 
it was something positive, not a mere release from 

209 pain, not a simple filling up of a vacuum. Nothing 
was in its essential nature either just or noble or base ; 
custom and convention pronounced them one or 
other. The wise man made the best he could of his 
conditions ; valuing mental activity and friendship 
and wealth and bodily exercise, and avoiding envy 
and excessive indulgence of passion and superstition, 
not because the first were in themselves good or the 
second evil, but because they were respectively helpers 
or hinderers of pleasure. He is the master and 
possessor of pleasure not who abstains from it, but 
who uses it and keeps his self-command in the using. 
Moderate indulgence this is wisdom. 


The one criterion, whether of good or of truth, 210 
is the feeling of the moment for the man who feels 
it; all question of causes of feelings is delusive. 
We can say with truth and certainty, I have the 
sensation of white or the sensation of sweet. But 
that there is a white or a sweet thing which is the 
cause of the sensation, that we cannot say for certain. 
A man may very well have the sensation white or 
sweet from something which has no such quality, as 
men in delusion or madness have impressions that are 
true and real inasmuch as they have them, although 
other people do not admit their reality. There is, 
therefore, no criterion of truth as between man and 
man ; we may employ the same words, but each 
has his own impressions and his own individual 

One can easily understand this as the doctrine of 
such a man as Aristippus, the easy-going man of the 
world, the courtier and the wit, the favourite of the 
tyrant Dionysius ; it fits in well enough with a life of 
genial self-indulgence ; it always reappears whenever 
a man has reconciled himself to roll with pleasure 
in a sensual sty. But life is not always, nor for 
most persons at any time, a thing of ease and soft 
enchantments, and the Cyrenaic philosophy must 
remain for the general work-a-day world a stale 
exotic. Every man for himself and the devil take 
the hindmost, is a maxim which comes as a rule 


only to the lips of the worldly successful, while they 
think themselves strong enough to stand alone. But 
this solitude of selfishness neither works nor lasts ; 
every man at some time becomes the hindmost, if 
not before, at least in the hour of death for him or 
his ; at that hour he is hardly disposed, for himself 
or those he loves, to repeat his maxim. 

in his praises of pleasure as the one good for man 
(see above, p. 126), remarks that there were some who 

209 refused pleasure " from perversity of mind," taking 
pleasure, so to speak, in the denial of pleasure. The 
school of the Cynics made this perverse mood, as 
Aristippus deemed it, the maxim of their philosophy. 
As the Cyrenaic school was the school of the rich, 
the courtly, the self-indulgent, so the Cynic was the 
school of the poor, the exiles, the ascetics. Each 
was an extreme expression of a phase of Greek life 
and thought, though there was this point of union 

215 between them, that liberty of a kind was sought by 
both. The Cyrenaics claimed liberty to please 
themselves in the choice of their enjoyments ; the 
Cynics sought liberty through denial of enjoyments. 

219 Both, moreover, were cosmopolitan ; they mark the 
decay of the Greek patriotism, which was essentially 
civic, and the rise of the wider but less intense 
conception of humanity. Aristippus, in a conversa 
tion with Socrates (Xenoph. Memor. II. i.) on the 


qualifications of those who are fitted to be magis 
trates, disclaims all desire to hold such a position 
himself. " There is," he says, " to my thinking, a 
middle way, neither of rule nor of slavery, but of 
freedom, which leads most surely to true happiness. 
So to avoid all the evils of partisanship and faction 
I nowhere take upon me the position of a citizen, 
but in every city remain a sojourner and a stranger." 
And in like manner Antisthenes the Cynic, being 
asked how a man should approach politics, answered, 
" He will approach it as he will fire, not too near, 
lest he be burnt ; not too far away, lest he starve of 
cold." And Diogenes, being asked of what city he 
was, answered, " I am a citizen of the world." The 
Cynic ideal, in fact, was summed up in these four 
words wisdom, independence, free speech, liberty. 

Antisthenes, founder of the school, was a native 214 
of Athens, but being of mixed blood (his mother 
was a Thracian) he was not recognised as an Athenian 
citizen. He was a student first under Gorgias, and 
acquired from him a considerable elegance of literary 
style ; subsequently he became a devoted hearer of 
Socrates, and became prominent among his followers 
for an asceticism surpassing his master s. One day, 
we are told, he showed a great rent in the thread 
bare cloak which was his only garment, whereupon 
Socrates slily remarked, " I can see through your 
cloak your love of glory." He carried a leathern 



scrip and a staff, and the scrip and staff became 
distinctive marks of his school. The name Cynic, 
derived from the Greek word for a dog, is variously 
accounted for, some attributing it to the c doglike 
habits of the school, others to their love of barking 
criticism, others to the fact that a certain gymnasium 
in the outskirts of Athens, called Cynosarges, sacred 
to Hercules the patron-divinity of men in the political 
position of Antisthenes, was a favourite resort of his. 
He was a voluminous, some thought a too voluminous, 

216 expounder of his tenets. Like the other Incomplete 
Socratics, his teaching was mainly on ethical questions. 

215 His chief pupil and successor was the famous 
Diogenes, a native of Sinope, a Greek colony on the 
Euxine Sea. He even bettered the instructions of 
his master in the matter of extreme frugality of 
living, claiming that he was a true follower of Her 
cules in preferring independence to every other good. 
The tale of his living in a cask or tub is well 
known. His theory was that the peculiar privilege 
of the gods consisted in their need of nothing ; men 
approached nearest the life of the gods in needing 
as little as possible. 

217 Many other sayings of one or other teacher are 
quoted, all tending to the same conclusion. For 
example, " I had rather be mad than enjoying my 
self ! " " Follow the pleasures that come after pains , 
not those which bring pains in their train." " There 


are pains that are useless, there are pains that are 
natural : the wise choose the latter, and thus find 
happiness even through pain. For the very contempt 
of pleasure comes with practice to be the highest 
pleasure." " When I wish a treat," says Antisthenes, 
" I do not go and buy it at great cost in the market 
place ; I find my storehouse of pleasures in the 

The life of the wise man, therefore, was a training 218 
of mind and body to despise pleasure and attain 
independence. In this way virtue was teachable, 
and could be so acquired as to become an inseparable 
possession. The man who had thus attained to 
wisdom, not of words, but of deeds, was, as it were, 
in an impregnable fortress that could neither crumble 
into ruin nor be lost by treachery. And so Antis 
thenes, being asked what was the most essential 
point of learning, answered, " To unlearn what is 
evil." That is to say, to the Cynic conception, men 
were born with a root of evil in them in the love of 
pleasure ; the path of wisdom was a weaning of soul 
and body by practice from the allurements of pleasure, 
until both were so perfectly accustomed to its denial 
as to find an unalloyed pleasure in the very act of 
refusing it. In this way virtue became absolutely 219 
sufficient for happiness, and so far was it from being 
necessary to have wealth or the admiration of men 
in addition, that the true kingly life was " to do well, 


and be ill spoken of." All else but virtue was a 
matter of indifference. 

The cosmopolitan temper of these men led them 
to hold of small account the- forms and prejudices of 
ordinary society : they despised the rites of marriage ; 
they thought no flesh unclean. They believed in no 
multifarious theology ; there was but one divinity 
the power that ruled all nature, the one absolutely 
self-centred independent being, whose manner of 

221 existence they sought to imitate. Nor had they any 
sympathy with the subtleties of verbal distinction 
cultivated by some of the Socratics, as by other 
philosophers or Sophists of their time. Definitions 
and abstractions and classifications led to no good. 
A man was a man ; what was good was good ; to 
say that a man was good did not establish the 
existence of some abstract class of goods. As 
Antisthenes once said to Plato, " A horse I see, but 
horseness I do not see." What the exact point 
of this criticism was we may reserve for the 

222 III. EUCLIDES THE MEGARic. Euclides, a native 
of Megara on the Corinthian isthmus, was a devoted 
hearer of Socrates, making his way to hear him, 
sometimes even at the risk of his life, in defiance of 
a decree of his native city forbidding intercourse 
with Athens. When Plato and other Athenian 
followers of Socrates thought well to quit Athens for 


a time after Socrates execution, they were kindly 
entertained by Euclides at Megara. 

The exact character of the development which 
the Socratic teaching received from Euclides and his 
school is a matter of considerable doubt. The 
allusions to the tenets of the school in Plato and 
others are only fragmentary. We gather, however, 223 
from them that Euclides was wholly antithetical to 
the personal turn given to philosophy, both by the 
Cyrenaics and the Cynics. He revived and de 
veloped with much dialectical subtlety the meta 
physical system of Parmenides and the Eleatics, 
maintaining that there is but one absolute existence, 
and that sense and sense-perceptions as against this 
are nothing. This one absolute existence was alone 224 
absolutely good, and the good for man could only 
be found in such an absorption of himself in this one 
absolute good through reason and contemplation, as 
would bring his spirit into perfectness of union with 
it. Such absorption raised a man above the troubles 
and pains of life, and thus, in insensibility to these 
through reason, man attained his highest good. 

The school is perhaps interesting only in so far 
as it marks the continued survival of the abstract 
dialectic method of earlier philosophy. As such it 
had a very definite influence, sometimes through 
agreement, sometimes by controversy, on the systems 
of Plato and Aristotle now to be dealt with. 



239 THIS great master, the Shakespeare of Greek philo 
sophy, as one may call him, for his fertility, his 
variety, his humour, his imagination, his poetic grace, 
was born at Athens in the year 429 B.C. He was 
of noble family, numbering among his ancestors no 
less a man than the great lawgiver Solon, and 
tracing back his descent even further to the legend- 

240 ary Codrus, last king of Athens. At a very early 
age he seems to have begun to study the philo 
sophers, Heraclitus more particularly, and before he 
was twenty he had written a tragedy. About that 
time, however, he met Socrates ; and at once giving 
up all thought of poetic fame he burnt his poem, 
and devoted himself to the hearing of Socrates. For 
ten years he was his constant companion. When 
Socrates met his death in 399, Plato and other 
followers of the master fled at first to Megara, as 
already mentioned (above, p. 132); he then entered 
on a period of extended travel, first to Cyrene and 


Egypt, thence to Italy and Sicily. In Italy he 
devoted himself specially to a study of the doctrine 
of Pythagoras. It is said that at Syracuse he 
offended the tyrant Dionysius the elder by his 
freedom of speech, and was delivered up to the 
Spartans, who were then at war with Athens. 
Ultimately he was ransomed, and found his way 241 
back to Athens, but he is said to have paid a second 
visit to Sicily when the younger Dionysius became 
tyrant He seems to have entertained the hope 
that he might so influence this young man as to be 
able to realise through him the dream of his life, a 
government in accordance with the dictates of philo 
sophy. His dream, however, was disappointed of 242 
fruition, and he returned to Athens, there in the 
groves of Academus a mythic hero of Athens, to 
spend the rest of his days in converse with his 
followers, and there at the ripe age of eighty-one he 
died. From the scene of his labours his philosophy 
has ever since been known as the Academic 
philosophy. Unlike Socrates, he was not content 243 
to leave only a memory of himself and his con 
versations. He was unwearied in the redaction 
and correction of his written dialogues, altering 
them here and there both in expression and in 
structure. It is impossible, therefore, to be 
absolutely certain as to the historical order of 
composition or publication among his numerous 

136 PLATO 

dialogues, but a certain approximate order may be 

We may take first a certain number of compara 
tively short dialogues, which are strongly Socratic 
in the following respects : first, they each seek a 
definition of some particular virtue or quality ; second, 
each suggests some relation between it and know 
ledge ; third, each leaves the answer somewhat open, 
treating the matter suggestively rather than dog 
matically. These dialogues are Channides, which 
treats of Temperance (incus sana in corpore sand) ; 
Lysis, which treats of Friendship ; Laches, Of 
Courage ; Ion, Of Poetic Inspiration ; Mcno, Of the 
teachableness of Virtue ; Enthyphro, Of Piety. 

The last of these may be regarded as marking a 
transition to a second series, which are concerned 
with the trial and death of Socrates. The 
Etithyphro opens with an allusion by Socrates to 
his approaching trial, and in the Apology we have a 
Platonic version of Socrates speech in his own 
defence ; in Crito we have the story of his noble 
self-abnegation and civic obedience after his con 
demnation ; in Phaedo we have his last conversation 
with his friends on the subject of Immortality, and 
the story of his death. 

Another series of the dialogues may be formed of 
those, more or less satirical, in which the ideas and 
methods of the Sophists are criticised : Protagoras, 


in which Socrates suggests that all virtues are 
essentially one ; Euthydemus^ in which the assumption 
and airs of some of the Sophists are made fun of ; 
Cratylus, Of the sophistic use of words ; Gorgias, 
Of the True and the False, the truly Good and the 
truly Evil ; Hippias, Of Voluntary and Involuntary 
Sin ; Alcibiades, Of Self-Knowledge ; Menexemis, a 
(possibly ironical) set oration after the manner of 
the Sophists, in praise of Athens. 

The whole of this third series are characterised 
by humour, dramatic interest, variety of personal 
type among the speakers, keenness rather than depth 
of philosophic insight. There are many suggestions 
of profounder thoughts, afterwards worked out more 
fully ; but on the whole these dialogues rather 
stimulate thought than satisfy it ; the great poet- 
thinker is still playing with his tools. 

A higher stage is reached in the Symposium, 
which deals at once humorously and profoundly 
with the subject of Love, human and divine, and its 
relations to Art and Philosophy, the whole con 
summated in a speech related by Socrates as having 
been spoken to him by Diotima, a wise woman of 
Mantineia. From this speech an extract as trans 
lated by Professor Jowett may be quoted here. It 
marks the transition point from the merely playful 
and critical to the relatively serious and dogmatic 
stage in the mind of Plato : 

138 PLATO 

" Marvel not," she said, " if you believe that love is of the 
immortal, as we have already several times acknowledged ; for 
here again, and on the same principle too, the mortal nature is 
seeking as far as is possible to be everlasting and immortal : 
and this is only to be attained by generation, because genera 
tion always leaves behind a new existence in the place of the 
old. Nay even in the life of the same individual there is suc 
cession and not absolute unity : a man is called the same, and 
yet in the short interval which elapses between youth and age, 
and in which every animal is said to have life and identity, he 
is undergoing a perpetual process of loss and reparation hair, 
flesh, bones, blood, and the whole body are always changing. 
Which is true not only of the body, but also of the soul, whose 
habits, tempers, opinions, desires, pleasures, pains, fears, never 
remain the same in any one of us, but are always coming and 
going ; and equally true of knowledge, which is still more 
surprising for not only do the sciences in general come and 
go, so that in respect of them we are never the same ; but 
each of them individually experiences a like change. For what 
is implied in the word recollection, but the departure of 
knowledge, which is ever being forgotten and is renewed and 
preserved by recollection, and appears to be the same although 
in reality new, according to that law of succession by which 
all mortal things are preserved, not absolutely the same, but 
by substitution, the old worn-out mortality leaving another new 
and similar existence behind unlike the divine, which is 
always the same and not another ? And in this way, Socrates, 
the mortal body, or mortal anything, partakes of immortality ; 
but the immortal in another way. Marvel not then at the love 
which all men have of their offspring ; for that universal love 
and interest is for the sake of immortality." 

I was astonished at her words, and said : " Is this really 
true, O thou wise Diotima ? " And she answered with all the 
authority of a sophist: " Of that, Socrates, you may be assured; 
think only of the ambition of men, and you will wonder at 
the senselessness of their ways, unless you consider how they 
are stirred by the love of an immortality of fame. They are 
ready to run risks greater far than they would have run for 
their children, and to spend money and undergo any sort of 


toil, and even to die for the sake of leaving behind them a name 
which shall be eternal. Do you imagine that Alcestis would 
have died to save Admetus, or Achilles to avenge Patroclus, 
or your own Codrus in order to preserve the kingdom for his 
sons, if they had not imagined that the memory of their 
virtues, which is still retained among us, would be immortal ? 
Nay," she said, " I am persuaded that all men do all things, 
and the better they are the more they do them, in hope of 
the glorious fame of immortal virtue ; for they desire the 

" They whose bodies only are creative, betake themselves to 
women and beget children this is the character of their love ; 
their offspring, as they hope, will preserve their memory and 
give them the blessedness and immortality which they desire 
in the future. But creative souls for there certainly are men 
who are more creative in their souls than in their bodies 
conceive that which is proper for the soul to conceive or retain. 
And what are these conceptions ? wisdom and virtue in 
general. And such creators are poets and all artists who 
are deserving of the name inventor. But the greatest and 
fairest sort of wisdom by far is that which is concerned 
with the ordering of states and families, and which is called 
temperance and justice. And he who in youth has the seed 
of these implanted in him and is himself inspired, when 
he comes to maturity desires to beget and generate. He 
wanders about seeking beauty that he may beget offspring 
for in deformity he will beget nothing and naturally embraces 
the beautiful rather than the deformed body ; above all when 
he finds a fair and noble and well-nurtured soul, he embraces 
the two in one person, and to such an one he is full of speech 
about virtue and the nature and pursuits of a good man ; and 
he tries to educate him ; and at the touch of the beautiful 
which is ever present to his memory, even when absent, he 
brings forth that which he had conceived long before, and in 
company with him tends that which he brings forth ; and they 
are married by a far nearer tie and have a closer friendship 
than those who beget mortal children, for the children who are 
their common offspring are fairer and more immortal. Who, 
when he thinks of Homer and Hesiod and other great poets, 

140 PLATO 

would not rather have their children than ordinary human ones ? 
Who would not emulate them in the creation of children such 
as theirs, which have preserved their memory and given them 
everlasting glory ? Or who would not have such children 
as Lycurgus left behind him to be the saviours, not only of 
Lacedaemon, but of Hellas, as one may say ? There is Solon, 
too, who is the revered father of Athenian laws ; and many 
others there are in many other places, both among Hellenes 
and barbarians. All of them have given to the world many 
noble works, and have been the parents of virtue of every kind, 
and many temples have been raised in their honour for the 
sake of their children ; which were never raised in honour of 
any one, for the sake of his mortal children. 

" These are the lesser mysteries of love, into which even 
you, Socrates, may enter ; to the greater and more hidden ones 
which are the crown of these, and to which, if you pursue 
them in a right spirit, they will lead, I know not whether you 
will be able to attain. But I will do my utmost to inform you, 
and do you follow if you can. For he who would proceed aright 
in this matter should begin in youth to visit beautiful forms ; 
and first, if he be guided by his instructor aright, to love one 
such form only out of that he should create fair thoughts ; 
and soon he will of himself perceive that the beauty of one 
form is akin to the beauty of another ; and then if beauty of 
form in general is his pursuit, how foolish would he be not to re 
cognise that the beauty in every form is one and the same ! And 
when he perceives this he will abate his violent love of the one, 
which he will despise and deem a small thing, and will become 
a lover of all beautiful forms ; in the next stage he will consider 
that the beauty of the mind is more honourable than the 
beauty of the outward form. So that if a virtuous soul have 
but a little comeliness, he will be content to love and tend him, 
and will search out and bring to the birth thoughts which may 
improve the young, until he is compelled to contemplate and 
see the beauty of institutions and laws, and to understand 
that the beauty of them all is of one family, and that personal 
beauty is a trifle ; and after laws and institutions he will go on 
to the sciences, that he may see their beauty, being not like 
a servant in love with the beauty of one youth or man or 


institution, himself a slave mean and narrow-minded, but draw 
ing towards and contemplating the vast sea of beauty, he will 
create many fair and noble thoughts and notions in boundless 
love of wisdom ; until on that shore he grows and waxes 
strong, and at last the vision is revealed to him of a single 
science, which is the science of beauty everywhere. To this 
I will proceed ; please to give me your very best attention. 

" He who has been instructed thus far in the things of love, 
and who has learned to see the beautiful in due order and 
succession, when he comes toward the end will suddenly per 
ceive a nature of wondrous beauty (and this, Socrates, is the 
final cause of all our former toils) a nature which in the first 
place is everlasting, not growing and decaying, or waxing and 
waning ; in the next place not fair in one point of view and 
foul in another, or at one time or in one relation or at one place 
fair, at another time or in another relation or at another place 
foul, as if fair to some and foul to others, or in the likeness of 
a face or hands or any other part of the bodily frame, or in 
any form of speech or knowledge, or existing in any other being ; 
as for example, in an animal, or in heaven, or in earth, or in 
any other place, but beauty only, absolute, separate, simple, 
and everlasting, which without diminution and without increase, 
or any change, is imparted to the ever-growing and perishing 
beauties of all other things. He who under the influence of 
true love rising upward from these begins to see that beauty, 
is not far from the end. And the true order of going or being 
led by another to the things of love, is to use the beauties of 
earth as steps along which he mounts upwards for the sake of 
that other beauty, going from one to two, and from two to all 
fair forms, and from fair forms to fair practices, and from fair 
practices to fair notions, until from fair notions he arrives at the 
notion of absolute beauty, and at last knows what the essence 
of beauty is. This, my dear Socrates," said the stranger of 
Mantineia, "is that life above all others which a man should live, 
in the contemplation of beauty absolute ; a beauty which if you 
once beheld, you would see not to be after the measure of gold, 
and garments, and fair boys and youths, whose presence now 
entrances you ; and you and many a one would be content to 
live seeing only and conversing with them without meat or drink, 

1 42 PLATO 

if that were possible you only want to be with them and to 
look at them. But what if man had eyes to see the true 
beauty the divine beauty, I mean, pure and clear and un 
alloyed, not clogged with the pollutions of mortality, and all 
the colours and vanities of human life thither looking, and 
holding converse with the true beauty divine and simple ? Do 
you not see that in that communion only, beholding beauty 
with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not 
images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image 
but of a reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue 
to become the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal man 
may. Would that be an ignoble life ? " (Jowett, Plato, vol. ii. 
p. 58). 

Closely connected in subject with the Symposium 
\st\\QPhaedms. As Professor Jowett observes: "The 
two dialogues together contain the whole philosophy 
of Plato on the nature of love, which in The Republic 
and in the later writings of Plato is only introduced 
playfully or as a figure of speech. But in the 
Phaedrus and Symposium love and philosophy join 
hands, and one is an aspect of the other. The 
spiritual and emotional is elevated into the ideal, to 
which in the Symposium mankind are described as 
looking forward, and which in the Phaedrus, as well 
as in the Phaedo, they are seeking to recover from 
a former state of existence." 

We are here introduced to one of the most famous 
conceptions of Plato, that of Reminiscence, or Recol 
lection, based upon a theory of the prior existence 
of the soul. In the Meno, already alluded to, Socrates 
is representing as eliciting from one of Meno s slaves 


correct answers to questions involving a knowledge 
or apprehension of certain axioms of the science 
of mathematics, which, as Socrates learns, the 
slave had never been taught. Socrates argues that 
since he was never taught these axioms, and yet 
actually knows them, he must have known them 
before his birth, and concludes from this to the 
immortality of the soul. In the Phaedo this same 
argument is worked out more fully. As we grow 
up we discover in the exercise of our senses that 
things are equal in certain respects, unequal in many 
others ; or again, we appropriate to things or acts 
the qualities, for example, of beauty, goodness, 
justice, holiness. At the same time we recognise 
that these are ideals, to which in actual experience 
we never find more than an approximation, for we 
never discover in any really existing thing or act 
absolute equality, or justice, or goodness. In other 
words, any act of judgment on our part of actual 
experiences consists in a measuring of these experi 
ences by standards which we give or apply to them, 
and which no number of experiences can give to us 
because they do not possess or exemplify them. We 
did not consciously possess these notions, or ideals, 
or ideas, as he prefers to call them, at birth ; they 
come into consciousness in connection with or in 
consequence of the action of the senses ; but since 
the senses could not give these ideas, the process of 

144 PLATO 

knowledge must be a process of Recollection. Socrates 
carries the argument a step further. " Then may we 
not say," he continues, " that if, as we are always re 
peating, there is an absolute beauty and goodness and 
other similar ideas or essences, and to this standard, 
which is now discovered to have existed in our former 
state, we refer all our sensations, and with this compare 
them assuming these ideas to have a prior existence, 
then our souls must have had a prior existence, but 
if not, not? There is the same proof that these ideas 
must have existed before we were born, as that our 
souls existed before we were born ; and if not the 
ideas, then not the souls." 

In the Phaedrus this conception of a former 
existence is embodied in one of the Mytlis in which 
Plato s imaginative powers are seen at their highest. 
In it the soul is compared to a charioteer driving two 
winged steeds, one mortal, the other immortal ; the 
one ever tending towards the earth, the other seeking 
ever to soar into the sky, where it may behold those 
blessed visions of loveliness and wisdom and good 
ness, which are the true nurture of the soul. When 
the chariots of the gods go forth in mighty and 
glorious procession, the soul would fain ride forth 
in their train ; but alas ! the mortal steed is ever 
hampering the immortal, and dragging it down. 

If the soul yields to this influence and descends 
to earth, there she takes human form, but in higher 


or lower degree, according to the measure of her 
vision of the truth. She may become a philosopher, 
a king, a trader, an athlete, a prophet, a poet, a 
husbandman, a sophist, a tyrant. But whatever her 
lot, according to her manner of life in it, may she 
rise, or sink still further, even to a beast or plant 

Only those souls take the form of humanity that 
have had some vision of eternal truth. And this 
vision they retain in a measure, even when clogged 
in mortal clay. And so the soul of man is ever 
striving and fluttering after something beyond ; and 
specially is she stirred to aspiration by the sight of 
bodily loveliness. Then above all comes the test of 
good and evil in the soul. The nature that has been 
corrupted would fain rush to brutal joys ; but the 
purer nature looks with reverence and wonder at this 
beauty, for it is an adumbration of the celestial joys 
which he still remembers vaguely from the heavenly 
vision. And thus pure and holy love becomes an 
opening back to heaven ; it is a source of happiness 
unalloyed on earth ; it guides the lovers on upward 
wings back to the heaven whence they came. 


PLATO (continued} 

AND now we pass to the central and crowning work 
of Plato, The Republic, or Of Justice the longest 
with one exception, and certainly the greatest of all 
his works. It combines the humour and irony, the 
vivid characterisation and lively dialogue of his earlier 
works, with the larger and more serious view, the 
more constructive and statesmanlike aims of his later 
life. The dialogue opens very beautifully. There 
has been a festal procession at the Piraeus, the 
harbour of Athens, and Socrates with a companion 
is wending his way homeward, when he is recalled by 
other companions, who induce him to visit the house 
of an aged friend of his, Cephalus, whom he does 
not visit too often. Him he finds seated in his court, 
crowned, as the custom was, for the celebration of a 
family sacrifice, and beholds beaming on his face the 
peace of a life well spent and reconciled. They talk of 
the happiness that comes in old age to those who have 
done good and not evil, and who are not too severely 


tried in the matter of worldly cares. Life to this 
good old man seems a very simple matter ; duty to 
God, duty to one s neighbours, each according to 
what is prescribed and orderly ; this is all, and this 
is sufficient. 

Then comes in the questioning Socrates, with his 
doubts and difficulties as to what is one s duty in 
special circumstances ; and the discussion is taken up, 
not by the good old man, "who goes away to the sacri 
fice," but by his son, who can quote the authorities ; 
and by Thrasymachus, the Sophist, who will have 
nothing to do with authority, but maintains that 
interest is the only real meaning of justice, and that 
Might is Right. Socrates, by analogy of the arts, 
shows that Might absolutely without tincture of 
justice is mere weakness, and that there is honour 
even among thieves. Yet the exhibition of the law 
working in the members seems to have its weak 
side so long as we look to individual men, in whom 
there are many conflicting influences, and many 
personal chances and difficulties, which obscure the 
relation between just action and happiness. 

Socrates therefore will have justice writ large 
in the community as a whole, first pictured in its 
simpler, and then in its more complex and luxurious 
forms. The relation of the individual to the com 
munity is represented chiefly as one of education and 
training ; and many strange theories as of the equal 

148 PLATO 

training of men and women, and the community 
of wives, ideas partially drawn from Sparta are 
woven into the ideal structure. Then the dialogue 
rises to a larger view of education, as a preparation 
of the soul of man, not for a community on earth, 
but for that heavenly life which was suggested above 
(p. 1 44) in the myth of the steeds. 

The purely earthly unideal life is represented as a 
life of men tied neck and heels from birth in a cave, 
having their backs to the light, and their eyes fixed 
only on the shadows which are cast upon the wall. 
These they take for the only realities, and they may 
acquire much skill in interpreting the shadows. Turn 
these men suddenly to the true light, and they will 
be dazzled and blinded. They will feel as though 
they had lost the realities, and been plunged into 
dreams. And in pain and sorrow they will be 
tempted to grope back again to the familiar darkness. 

Yet if they hold on in patience, and struggle up 
the steep till the sun himself breaks on their vision, 
what pain and dazzling once more, yet at the 
last what glorious revelation ! True, if they revisit 
their old dwelling-place, they will not see as well as 
their fellows who are still living contentedly there, 
knowing nothing other than the shadows. They may 
even seem to these as dreamers who have lost their 
senses ; and should they try to enlighten these 
denizens of the cave, they may be persecuted or 


even put to death. Such are the men who have 
had a sight of the heavenly verities, when compared 
with the children of earth and darkness. 

Yet the world will never be right till those who 
have had this vision come back to the things of earth 
and order them according to the eternal verities ; the 
philosopher must be king if ever the perfect life is to 
be lived on earth, either by individual or community. 
As it would be expressed in Scriptural language, 
" The kingdoms of this world must become the king 
doms of the Lord and of His Christ." 

For the training of these ideal rulers an ideal 
education is required, which Plato calls dialectic ; 
something of its nature is described later on (p. 1 70), 
and we need not linger over it here. 

The argument then seems to fall to a lower level. 
There are various approximations in actual experience 
to the ideal community, each more or less perfect 
according to the degree in which the good of the in 
dividual is also made the good of all, and the interests 
of governors and governed are alike. Parallel with 
each lower form of state is a lower individual nature, the 
worst of all being that of the tyrant, whose will is his 
only law, and his own self-indulgence his only motive. 
In him indeed Might is Right ; but his life is the 
very antithesis of happiness. Nay, pleasure of any 
kind can give no law to reason ; reason can judge of 
pleasure, but not vice versa. There is no profit to a 


man though he gain the whole world, if Jiimself be 
lost ; if he become worse ; if the better part of him 
be silenced and grow weaker. And after this fitful 
fever is over, may there not be a greater bliss 
beyond ? There have been stories told us, visions 
of another world, where each man is rewarded 
according to his works. And the book closes with 
a magnificent Vision of Judgment. It is the story 
of Er, son of Armenius, who being wounded in 
battle, after twelve days trance comes back to life, 
and tells of the judgment seat, of heavenly bliss and 
hellish punishments, and of the renewal of life and 
the new choice given to souls not yet purified wholly 
of sin. " God is blameless ; Man s Soul is immortal ; 
Justice and Truth are the only things eternally good." 
Such is the final revelation. . 

The Timaetts is an attempt by Plato, under the 
guise of a Pythagorean philosopher, to image forth 
as in a vision or dream the actual framing of the. 
universe, conceived as a realisation of the Eternal 
Thought or Idea. It will be remembered that in 
the analysis already given (p. 143) of the process of 
knowledge in individual men, Plato found that prior 
to the suggestions of the senses, though not coming 
into consciousness except in connection with sensa 
tion, men had ideas that gave them a power of render 
ing their sensations intelligible. In the Timaeus Plato 
attempts a vision of the universe as though he saw 


it working itself into actuality on the lines of those 
ideas. The vision is briefly as follows : There is ^ 
the Eternal Creator, who desired to make the world 
because He was good and free from jealousy, and 
therefore willed that all things should be like Him 
self; that is, that the formless, chaotic, unrealised 
void might receive form and order, and become, in 
short, real as He was. Thus creation is the process 
by which the Eternal Creator works out His own 
image, His own ideas, in and through that which is 
formless, that which has no name, which is nothing 
but possibility, dead earth, namely, or Matter. And 
first the world-soul, image of the divine, is formed, 
on which as on a " diamond network " the manifold 
structure of things is fashioned the stars, the seven 
planets with their sphere-music, the four elements, and 
all the various creatures, aetherial or fiery, aerial, aque 
ous, and earthy, with the consummation of them all in 
microcosm, in the animal world, and specially in man. 
One can easily see that this is an attempt by 
Plato to carry out the reverse process in thought 
to that which first comes to thinking man. Man has 
sensations, that is, he comes first upon that which is 
conceivably last in creation, on the immediate and 
temporary things or momentary occurrences of earth. 
In these sensations, as they accumulate into a kind 
of habitual or unreasoned knowledge or opinion, he 
discovers elements which have been active to 

152 PLATO 

correlate the sensations, which have from the first 
exercised a governing influence upon the sensations, 
without which, indeed, no two sensations could be 
brought together to form anything one could name. 
These regulative, underlying, permanent elements 
are Ideas, i.e. General Forms or Notions, which, 
although they may come second as regards time 
into consciousness, are by reason known to have 
been there before, because through them alone can the 
sensations become intelligibly possible, or thinkable, 
or namable. Thus Plato is led to the conception of 
an order the reverse of our individual experience, the 
order of creation, the order of God s thought, which 
is equivalent to the order of God s working ; for 
God s thought and God s working are inseparable. 

Of course Plato, in working out his dream of 
creation absolutely without any scientific knowledge, 
the further he travels the more obviously falls into 
confusion and absurdity ; where he touches on some 
ideas having a certain resemblance to modern 
scientific discoveries, as the law of gravitation, the 
circulation of the blood, the quantitative basis of 
differences of quality, etc., these happy guesses are 
apt to lead more frequently wrong than right, because 
they are not kept in check by any experimental 
tests. But taken as a myth, which is perhaps all 
that Plato intended, the work offers much that is 
profoundly interesting. 


With the Timaeus is associated another dialogue 
called the Critias, which remains only as a fragment. 
In it is contained a description of the celebrated 
visionary kingdom of Atlantis, lying far beyond the 
pillars of Hercules, a land of splendour and luxury 
and power, a land also of gentle manners and wise 
orderliness. " The fiction has exercised a great in 
fluence over the imagination of later ages. As many 
attempts have been made to find the great island as 
to discover the country of the lost tribes. Without 
regard to the description of Plato, and without a 
suspicion that the whole narrative is a fabrication, 
interpreters have looked for the spot in every part of 
the globe America, Palestine, Arabia Felix, Ceylon, 
Sardinia, Sweden. The story had also an effect on 
the early navigators of the sixteenth century" 
(Jowett, PlatO) vol. iii. p. 679). 

PLATO (continued] 

WE now come to a series of highly important 
dialogues, marked as a whole by a certain diminution 
in the purely artistic attraction, having less of vivid 
characterisation, less humour, less dramatic interest, 
less perfect construction in every way, but, on the 
other hand, peculiarly interesting as presenting a 
kind of after- criticism of his own philosophy. In 
them Plato brings his philosophic conceptions into 
striking relation with earlier or rival theories such 
as the Eleatic, the Megarian, the Cyrenaic, and the 
Cynic, and touches in these connections on many 
problems of deep and permanent import. 

The most remarkable feature in these later dia 
logues is the disappearance, or even in some cases 
the apparently hostile criticism, of the doctrine of 
Ideas, and consequently of Reminiscence as the 
source of knowledge, and even, apparently, of Personal 


Immortality, so far as the doctrine of Reminiscence 
was imagined to guarantee it. This, however, is 
perhaps to push the change of view too far. We 
may say that Plato in these dialogues is rather the 
psychologist than the metaphysician ; he is attempting 
a revised analysis of mental processes. From this 
point of view it was quite intelligible that he should 
discover difficulties in his former theory of our mental 
relation to the external reality, without therefore see 
ing reason to doubt the existence of that reality. The 
position is somewhat similar to that of a modern philo 
sopher who attempts to think out the psychological 
problem of Human Will in relation to Almighty 
and Over-ruling Providence. One may very clearly 
see the psychological difficulties, without ceasing to 
believe either in the one or the other as facts. 

Throughout Plato s philosophy, amidst every 
variation of expression, we may take these three as 
practically fixed points of belief or of faith, or at 
least of hope ; first, that Mind is eternally master of 
the universe ; second, that Man in realising what is 
most truly himself is working in harmony with the 
Eternal Mind, and is in this way a master of nature, 
reason governing experience and not being a product 
of experience ; and thirdly (as Socrates said before 
his judges), that at death we go to powers who are 
wise and good, and to men departed who in their day 
shared in the divine wisdom and goodness, that, in 

156 PLATO 

short, there is something remaining for the dead, and 
better for those that have done good than for those 
that have done evil. 

The first of the psychological dialogues, as we 
have called them, is the Philebus. The question 
here is of the summum bonum or chief good. What 
is it ? Is it pleasure ? Is it wisdom ? Or is it 
both ? In the process of answering these questions 
Plato lays down rules for true definition, and estab 
lishes classifications which had an immense influence 
on his successor Aristotle, but which need not be 
further referred to here. 

The general gist of the argument is as follows. 
Pleasure could not be regarded as a sufficient or 
perfect good if it was entirely emptied of the purely 
intellectual elements of anticipation and consciousness 
and memory. This would be no better than the 
pleasure of an oyster. On the other hand, a purely 
intellectual existence can hardly be regarded as 
perfect and sufficient either. The perfect life must 
be a union of both. 

But this union must be an orderly and rational 
union ; in other words, it must be one in which 
Mind is master and Pleasure servant ; the finite, the 
regular, the universal must govern the indefinite, 
variable, particular. Thus in the perfect life there 
are four elements ; in the body, earth, water, air, fire ; 
in the soul, the finite, the indefinite, the union of the 


two, and the cause of that union. If this be so, he 
argues, may we not by analogy argue for a like four 
fold order in the universe ? There also we find 
regulative elements, and indefinite elements, and the 
union of the two. Must there not also be the Great 
Cause, even Divine Wisdom, ordering and governing 
all things ? 

The second of the psychological series is the Par 
menides, in which the great Eleatic philosopher, in 
company with his disciple Zeno, is imagined instruct 
ing the youthful Socrates when the two were on a 
visit to Athens, which may or may not be historical 
(see above, p. 34). The most striking portion of this 
dialogue is the criticism already alluded to of Plato s 
own theory of Ideas, put into the mouth of Par 
menides. Parmenides ascertains from Socrates that 
he is quite clear about there being Ideas of Justice, 
Beauty, Goodness, eternally existing, but how about 
Ideas of such common things as hair, mud, filth, 
etc. ? Socrates is not so sure ; to which Parmenides 
rejoins that as he grows older philosophy will take 
a surer hold of him, and that he will recognise the 
same law in small things and in great. 

But now as to the nature of these Ideas. What, 
Parmenides asks, is the relation of these, as eter 
nally existing in the mind of God, to the same ideas 
as possessed by individual men ? Does each indi 
vidual actually partake in the thought of God through 

158 PLATO 

the ideas, or are his ideas only resemblances of the 
eternal ? If he partakes, then the eternal ideas are 
not one but many, as many as the persons who 
possess them. If his ideas only resemble, then there 
must be some basis of reference by which the resem 
blance is established, a tcrtium quid or third exist 
ence resembling both, and so ad infinitum. Socrates 
is puzzled by this, and suggests that perhaps the 
Ideas are only notions in our minds. But to this it 
is replied that there is an end in that case of any 
reality in our ideas. Unless in some way they have 
a true and causal relation with something beyond our 
minds, there is an end of mind altogether, and with 
mind gone everything goes. 

This, as Professor Jowett remarks, " remains a diffi 
culty for us as well as for the Greeks of the fourth 
century before Christ, and is the stumbling-block of 
Kant s Critic, and of the Hamiltonian adaptation of 
Kant as well as of the Platonic ideas. It has been 
said that you cannot criticise Revelation. * Then 
how do you know what is Revelation, or that there 
is one at all ? is the immediate rejoinder. c You 
know nothing of things in themselves. Then how 
do you know that there are things in themselves ? 
In some respects the difficulty pressed harder upon 
the Greek than upon ourselves. For conceiving 
of God more under the attribute of knowledge than 
we do, he was more under the necessity of 


separating the divine from the human, as two 
spheres which had no communication with one 

Next follows an extraordinary analysis of the 
ideas of Being and Unity, remarkable not 
only for its subtlety, but for the relation which 
it historically bears to the modern philosophic 
system of Hegel. " Every affirmation is ipso facto 
a negation ; " " the negation of a negation is an 
affirmation ; " these are the psychological (if not 
metaphysical) facts, on which the analysis of 
Parmenides and the philosophy of Hegel are both 

We may pass more rapidly by the succeeding 
dialogues of the series : the Theaetetus (already quoted 
from above, p. 89), which is a close and powerful in 
vestigation of the nature of knowledge on familiar 
Platonic lines ; the Sophist, which is an analysis of 
fallacious reasoning ; and the Statesman, which, under 
the guise of a dialectical search for the true ruler of 
men, represents once more Plato s ideal of government, 
and contrasts this with the ignorance and charlatan 
ism of actual politics. 

In relation to subsequent psychology, and more 
particularly to the logical system of Aristotle, these 
dialogues are extremely important. We may indeed 
say that the systematic logic of Aristotle, as con 
tained in the Organon, is little more than an abstract 

160 PL A TO 

or digest of the logical theses of these dialogues. 
Definition and division, the nature and principle of 
classification, the theory of predication, the processes 
of induction and deduction, the classification and 
criticism of fallacies, all these are to be found in 
them. The only addition really made by Aristotle 
was the systematic theory of the syllogism. 

The Laws, the longest of Plato s works, seems 
to have been composed by him in the latest years 
of his long life, and was probably not published till 
after his death. It bears traces of its later origin 
in the less artful juncture of its parts, in the absence 
of humour, in the greater overloading of details, in 
the less graphic and appropriate characterisation of 
the speakers. These speakers are three an Athenian, 
a Cretan, and a Spartan. A new colony is to be led 
forth from Crete, and the Cretan takes advice of the 
others as to the ordering of the new commonwealth. 
We are no longer, as in The Republic, in an ideal 
world, a city coming down from, or set in, the 
heavens. There is no longer a perfect community ; 
nor are philosophers to be its kings. Laws more or 
less similar to those of Sparta fill about half the 
book. But the old spirit of obedience and self- 
sacrifice and community is not forgotten ; and on 
all men and women, noble and humble alike, the 
duty is cast, to bear in common the common burden 
of life. 


Thus, somewhat in sadness and decay, yet with a 
dignity and moral grandeur not unworthy of his life s 
high argument, the great procession of the Ideal 
Philosopher s dialogues closes. 



PLATO (concluded] 

IF we attempt now, by way of appendix to this very 
inadequate summary of the dialogues, to give in 
brief review some account of the main doctrines of 
Plato, as they may be gathered from a general view 
of them, we are at once met by difficulties many 
and serious. In the case of a genius such as Plato s, 
at once ironical, dramatic, and allegorical, we cannot 
be absolutely certain that in any given passage Plato 
is expressing, at all events adequately and completely, 
his own personal views, even at the particular stage 
of his own mental development then represented. 
And when we add to this that in a long life of 
unceasing intellectual development, Plato inevitably 
grew out of much that once satisfied him, and 
attained not infrequently to new points of view even 
of doctrines or conceptions which remained essentially 
unchanged, a Platonic dogma in the strict sense 
must clearly not be expected. One may, however, 
attempt in rough outline to summarise the main 


tendencies of his thought, without professing to repre 
sent its settled and authenticated results. 

We may begin by an important summary of 251 
Plato s philosophy given by Aristotle (Met. A. 6) : 
" In immediate succession to the Pythagorean and 
Eleatic philosophies came the work of Plato. In 
many respects his views coincided with these ; in 
some respects, however, he is independent of the 
Italians. For in early youth he became a student 
of Cratylus and of the school of Heraclitus, and 
accepted from them the view that the objects of 
sense are in eternal flux, and that of these, therefore, 
there can be no absolute knowledge. Then came 
Socrates, who busied himself only with questions of 
morals, and not at all with the world of physics. 
But in his ethical inquiries his search was ever for 
universals, and he was the first to set his mind to 
the discovery of definitions. Plato following him in 
this, came to the conclusion that these universals 
could not belong to the things of sense, which were 
ever changing, but to some other kind of existences. 
Thus he came to conceive of universals as forms or 
ideas of real existences, by reference to which, and 
in consequence of analogies to which, the things of 
sense in every case received their names, and became 
thinkable objects." 

From this it followed to Plato that in so far as the 
senses took an illusive appearance of themselves giving 

1 64 PLATO 

the knowledge which really was supplied by reason as 
the organ of ideas, in the same degree the body which 
is the instrument of sense can only be a source of illu 
sion and a hindrance to knowledge. The wise man, 
therefore, will seek to free himself from the bonds of 
the body, and die while he lives by philosophic con 
templation, free as far as possible from the disturb 
ing influence of the senses. This process of rational 
realisation Plato called Dialectic. The objects con 
templated by the reason, brought into consciousness 
on the occurrence of sensible perception, but never 
caused by these, were not mere notions in the mind of 
the individual thinker, nor were they mere properties 
of individual things ; this would be to make an end 
of science on the one hand, of reality on the other. 
Nor had they existence in any mere place, not even 
beyond the heavens. Their home was Mind, not this 
mind or that, but Mind Universal, which is God. 

In these * thoughts of God was the root or 
essence which gave reality to the things of sense ; 
they were the Unity which realised itself in multi 
plicity. It is because things partake of the Idea that 
we give them a name. The thing as such is seen, 
not known ; the idea as such is known, not seen. 
252 The whole conception of Plato in this connection 
is based on the assumption that there is such a thing 
as knowledge. If all things are ever in change, then 
knowledge is impossible ; but conversely, if there is 


such a thing as knowledge, then there must be a con 
tinuing object of knowledge ; and beauty, goodness, 
reality are then no dreams. The process of apprehen- 253 
sion of these thoughts of God, these eternal objects 
of knowledge, whether occasioned by sensation or not, 
is essentially a process of self-inquiry, or, as he in one 
stage called it, of Reminiscence. The process is the 
same in essence, whether going on in thought or 
expressed in speech ; it is a process of naming, 
Not that names ever resemble realities fully ; they 
are only approximations, limited by the conditions 
of human error and human convention. There is 254 
nevertheless an inter-communion between ideas and 
things. We must neither go entirely with those who 
affirm the one (the Eleatics), nor with those who 
affirm the many (the Heracliteans), but accept both. 
There is a union in all that exists both of That Which 
Is, and of that concerning which all we can say is that 
it is Other than what is. This Other, through union 
with what is, attains to being of a kind ; while on 
the other hand, What Is by union with the Other 
attains to variety, and thus more fully realises itself. 

That which Plato here calls < What Is he else- 25 8 
where calls The Limiting or Defining ; the 
* Other he calls The Unlimited or^ Undefined. 
Each has a function in the divine process. The 
thoughts of God attain realisation in the world of 
things which change and pass, through the infusion 

1 66 PLATO 

of themselves in, or the superimposing of themselves 
upon, that which is Nothing apart from them, the 
mere negation of what is, and yet necessary as the 
Other or correlative of what is. Thus we get, in 
fact, four forms of existence : there is the Idea or 
Limiting (apart) ; there is the Negative or Unlimited 
(apart), there is the Union of the two (represented 
in language by subject and predicate), which as a 
whole is this frame of things as we know it; and 
fourthly, there is the Cause of the Union, which is 
God. And God is cause not only as the beginning 
of all things, but also as the measure and law of 
their perfection, and the end towards which they go. 
He is the Good, and the cause of Good, and the 
consummation and realisation of Good. 

This absolute Being, this perfect Good, we cannot 
see, blinded as we are, like men that have been 
dwelling in a cave, by excess of light. We must, 
therefore, look on Him indirectly, as on an image of 
Him, in our own souls and in the world, in so far as 
in either we discern, by reason, that which is rational 
and good. 

259 Thus God is not only the cause and the end of 
all good, He is also the cause and the end of all 
knowledge. Even as the sun is not only the most 
glorious of all visible objects, but is also the cause 
of the life and beauty of all other things, and the 
provider of the light whereby we see them, so also 


is it for the eye of the soul God is its light, God 
is the most glorious object of its contemplation, God 
we behold imaged forth in all the objects which the 
soul by reason contemplates. 

The ideas whereof the Other (or, as he again 260 
calls it, the Great and Small or More and Less/ 
meaning that which is unnamable, or wholly neutral 
in character, and which may therefore be represented 
equally by contradictory attributes) by participation 
becomes a resemblance, Plato compared to the 
Numbers of the Pythagoreans (cf. above, p. 25). 
Hence, Aristotle remarks (Met. A. 6), Plato found 
in the ideas the originative or formative Cause of 
things, that which made them what they were or 
could be called, their Essence ; in the Great and 
Small he found the opposite principle or Matter 
(Raw Material) of things. 

In this way the antithesis of Mind and Matter, 
whether on the great scale in creation or on the 
small in rational perception, is not an antithesis of 
unrelated opposition. Each is correlative of the 
other, so to speak as the male and the female ; the 
one is generative, formative, active, positive ; the 
other is capable of being impregnated, receptive, 
passive, negative ; but neither can realise itself apart 
from the other. 

This relation of Being with that which is 262 
Other than Being is Creation, wherein we can 

1 68 PLATO 

conceive of the world as coming to be, yet not in 
261 Time. And in the same way Plato speaks of a third 
form, besides the Idea and that which receives it, 
namely, * Formless Space, the mother of all things. 
As Kant might have formulated it, Time and Space 
are not prior to creation, they are forms under which 
creation becomes thinkable. 

271 The Other or Negative element, Plato more or 
less vaguely connected with the evil that is in the 
world. This evil we can never expect to perish 
utterly from the world ; it must ever be here as 
the antithesis of the good. But with the gods it 
dwells not ; here in this mortal nature, and in this 
region of mingling, it must of necessity still be 
found. The wise man will therefore seek to die to 
the evil, and while yet in this world of mortality, to 
think immortal things, and so as far as may be 
flee from the evil. Thereby shall he liken himself 
to the divine. For it is a likening to the divine to 
be just and holy and true. 

273 This, then, is the summum bonum, the end of 
life. For as the excellence or end of any organ or 
instrument consists in that perfection of its parts, 
whereby each separately and the whole together 
work well towards the fulfilling of that which it is 
designed to accomplish, so the excellence of man 
must consist in a perfect ordering of all his parts 
to the perfect working of his whole organism as a 


rational being. The faculties of man are three : the 276 
Desire of the body, the Passion of the heart, the 
Thought of the soul ; the perfect working of all 
three, Temperance, Courage, Wisdom, and conse 
quently the perfect working of the whole man, is 
Righteousness. From this springs that ordered 
tranquillity which is at once true happiness and 
perfect virtue. 

Yet since individual men are not self-sufficient, 277 
but have separate capacities, and a need of union 
for mutual help and comfort, the perfect realisation 
of this virtue can only be in a perfect civic com 
munity. And corresponding with the three parts of 278 
the man there will be three orders in the commun 
ity : the Workers and Traders, the Soldiers, and the 
Ruling or Guardian class. When all these perform 
their proper functions in perfect harmony, then is 
the perfection of the whole realised, in Civic Excel 
lence or Justice. 

To this end a careful civic education is necessary, 231 
fir sty because to know what is for the general good 
is difficult, for we have to learn not only in general 
but in detail that even the individual good can be 
secured only through the general ; and second, 
because few, if any, are capable of seeking the 
general good, even if they know it, without the guid 
ance of discipline and the restraints of law. Thus, 
with a view to its own perfection, and the good of all 

170 PLATO 

its members, Education is the chief work of the 

It will be remembered (see foregoing page) that 
in Plato s division of the soul of man there are three 
faculties, Desire, Passion, Reason ; in the division 
of the soul s perfection three corresponding virtues, 
Temperance, Courage, Wisdom ; and in the division 
of the state three corresponding orders, Traders, 
Soldiers, Guardians. So in Education there are 
three stages. First, Music (including all manner of 
artistic and refining influences), whose function it is 
so to attemper the desires of the heart that all 
animalism and sensualism may be eliminated, and 
only the love and longing for that which is lovely 
and of good report may remain. Second, Gymnastic, 
whose function it is through ordered labour and 
suffering so to subdue and rationalise the passionate 
part of the soul, that it may become the willing and 
obedient servant of that which is just and true. And 
third, Mat/iematicS) by which the rational element 
of the soul may be trained to realise itself, being 
weaned, by the ordered apprehension of the diamond 
net of laws which underlie all the phenomena of 
nature, away from the mere surface appearances of 
things, the accidental, individual, momentary, to the 
deep-seated realities, which are necessary, universal, 

And just as there was a perfectness of the soul 


transcending all particular virtues, whether of Tem 
perance or Courage or Wisdom, namely, that absolute 
Rightness or Righteousness which gathered them all 
into itself, so at the end of these three stages of 
education there is a higher mood of thought, wherein 
the soul, purified, chastened, enlightened, in com 
muning with itself through Dialectic (the Socratic art 
of questioning transfigured) communes also with the 
Divine, and in thinking out its own deepest thoughts, 
thinks out the thoughts of the great Creator Him 
self, becomes one with Him, finds its final realisation 
through absorption into Him, and in His light sees 



PLATO before his death bequeathed his Academy to 
his nephew Speusippus, who continued its president 
for eight years ; and on his death the office passed 
to Xenocrates, who held it for twenty -five years. 
From him it passed in succession to Polemo, Crates, 
Grantor, and others. Plato was thus the founder of 
a school or sect of teachers who busied themselves 
with commenting, expanding, modifying here and 
there the doctrines of the master. Little of their 
works beyond the names has been preserved, and 
indeed we can hardly regret the loss. These men no 
doubt did much to popularise the thoughts of their 
master, and in this way largely influenced the later 
development of philosophy ; but they had nothing 
substantial to add, and so the stern pruning-hook of 
time has cut them off from remembrance. 
297 Aristotle was the son of a Greek physician, 
member of the colony of Stagira in Thrace. His 
father, Nicomachus by name, was a man of such 


eminence in his profession as to hold the post of 
physician to Amyntas, king of Macedonia, father of 
Philip the subverter of Greek freedom. Not only 
was his father an expert physician, he was also a 
student of natural history, and wrote several works 
on the subject. We shall find that the fresh ele 
ment which Aristotle brought to the Academic philo 
sophy was in a very great measure just that minute 
attention to details and keen apprehension of vital 
phenomena which we may consider he inherited 
from his father. He was born 384 B.C., and on the 
death of his father, in his eighteenth year, he came 
to Athens, and became a student of philosophy 
under Plato, whose pupil he continued to be for 
twenty years, indeed till the death of the master. 
That he, undoubtedly a far greater man than 
Speusippus or Xenocrates, should not have been 
nominated to the succession has been variously 
explained ; he is said to have been lacking in 
respect and gratitude to the master ; Plato is said 
to have remarked of him that he needed the curb as 
much as Xenocrates needed the spur. The facts 
really need no explanation. The original genius 
is never sufficiently subordinate and amenable to 
discipline. He is apt to be critical, to startle his 
easy-going companions with new and seemingly 
heterodox views, he is the ugly duckling whom 
all the virtuous and commonplace brood must cackle 


at. The Academy, when its great master died, was 
no place for Aristotle. He retired to Atarneus, a 
city of Mysia opposite to Lesbos, where a friend 
named Hermias was tyrant, and there he married 
Hermias niece. After staying at Atarneus some 
three years he was invited by Philip, now king of 
Macedon, to undertake the instruction of his son 
Alexander, the future conqueror, who was then 
thirteen years old. He remained with Alexander 
for eight years, though of course he could hardly be 
regarded as Alexander s tutor during all that time, 
since Alexander at a very early age was called to 
take a part in public affairs. However a strong 
friendship was formed between the philosopher and 
the young prince, and in after years Alexander 
loaded his former master with benefits. Even while 
on his march of conquest through Asia he did not 
forget him, but sent him from every country through 
which he passed specimens which might help him in 
his projected History of Animals, as well as an enor 
mous sum of money to aid him in his investigations. 
After the death of Philip, Aristotle returned to 
Athens, and opened a school of philosophy on his 
own account in the Lyceum. Here some authorities 
tell us he lectured to his pupils while he paced up 
and down before them ; hence the epithet applied to 
the school, the Peripatetics. Probably, however, the 
name is derived from the * Peripati or covered 


walks in the neighbourhood of that temple in which 
he taught. He devoted his mornings to lectures of 
a more philosophical and technical character ; to 
these only the abler and more advanced students 
were admitted. In the afternoons he lectured on 
subjects of a more popular kind rhetoric, the art of 
politics, etc. to larger audiences. Corresponding 
with this division, he also was in the habit of 
classifying his writings as Acroatic or technical, and 
Exoteric or popular. He accumulated a large 
library and museum, to which he contributed an 
astonishing number of works of his own, on every 
conceivable branch of knowledge. 

The after history of Aristotle s library, including 
the MSS. of his own works, is interesting and even 
romantic. Aristotle s successor in the school was 
Theophrastus, who added to the library bequeathed 
him by Aristotle many works of his own, and others 
purchased by him. Theophrastus bequeathed the 
entire library to Neleus, his friend and pupil, who, 
on leaving Athens to reside at Scepsis in the Troad, 
took the library with him. There it remained for 
nearly two hundred years in possession of the 
Neleus family, who kept the collection hidden in a 
cellar for fear it should be seized to increase the 
royal library of Pergamus. In such a situation the 
works suffered much harm from worms and damp, 
till at last (circa 100 B.C.) they were brought out 


and sold to one Apellicon, a rich gentleman resident 
in Athens, himself a member of the Peripatetic 
school. In 86 B.C. Sulla, the Roman dictator, 
besieged and captured Athens, and among other 
prizes conveyed the library of Apellicon to Rome, 
and thus many of the most important works of 
Aristotle for the first time were made known to 
the Roman and Alexandrian schools. It is a 
curious circumstance that the philosopher whose 
influence was destined to be paramount for more 
than a thousand years in the Christian era, 
was thus deprived by accident of his legitimate 
importance in the centuries immediately following 
his own. 

But his temporary and accidental eclipse was 
amply compensated in the effect upon the civilised 
world which he subsequently exercised. So all- 
embracing, so systematic, so absolutely complete did 
his philosophy appear, that he seemed to after genera 
tions to have left nothing more to discover. He at 
once attained a supremacy which lasted for some 
two thousand years, not only over the Greek-speaking 
world, but over every form of the civilisation of that 
long period, Greek, Roman, Syrian, Arabic, from the 
Euphrates to the Atlantic, from Africa to Britain. 
His authority was accepted equally by the learned 
doctors of Moorish Cordova and the Fathers of 
the Church ; to know Aristotle was to have all 


knowledge ; not to know him was to be a boor ; to 
deny him was to be a heretic. 

His style has nothing of the grace of Plato ; he 
illuminates his works with no. myths or allegories ; 
his manner is dry, sententious, familiar, without the 
slightest attempt at ornament. There are occasional 
touches of caustic humour, but nothing of emotion, 
still less of rhapsody. His strength lies in the vast 
architectonic genius by which he correlates every 
domain of the knowable in a single scheme, and in 
the extraordinary faculty for illustrative detail with 
which he fills the scheme in every part. He knows, 
and can shrewdly criticise every thinker and writer 
who has preceded him ; he classifies them as he 
classifies the mental faculties, the parts of logical 
speech, the parts of sophistry, the parts of rhetoric, 
the parts of animals, the parts of the soul, the parts 
of the state ; he defines, distinguishes, combines, 
classifies, with the same sureness and minuteness of 
method in them all. He can start from a general 
conception, expand it into its parts, separate these 
again by distinguishing details till he brings the 
matter down to its lowest possible terms, or infimae 
species. Or he can start from these, find analogies 
among them constituting more general species, and 
so in ascending scale travel surely up to a general 
conception, or summum genus. 

In his general conception of philosophy he was 


to a large extent in agreement with Plato ; but he 
endeavoured to attain to a more technical precision ; 
he sought to systematise into greater completeness ; 
he pared off everything which he considered merely 
metaphorical or fanciful, and therefore non-essential. 
The operations of nature, the phenomena of life, were 
used in a much fuller and more definite way to 
illustrate or even formulate the theory ; but in its 
main ideas Aristotle s philosophy is Plato s philosophy. 
The one clothed it in poetry, the other in formulae ; 
the one had a more entrancing vision, the other a 
clearer and more exact apprehension ; but there is 
no essential divergence. 

Aristotle s account of the origin or foundation of 
300 philosophy is as follows (Met. A. 2) : " Wonder is 
and always has been the first incentive to philosophy. 
At first men wondered at what puzzled them near 
at hand, then by gradual advance they came to 
notice and wonder at things still greater, as at the 
phases of the moon, the eclipses of sun and moon, 
the wonders of the stars, and the origin of the uni 
verse./ Now he who is puzzled and in a maze regards 
himself as a know-nothing ; wherefore the philosopher 
is apt to be fond of wondrous tales or myths. And 
inasmuch as it was a consciousness of ignorance 
that drove men to philosophy, it is for the correction 
of ^this ignorance, and not for any material utility, 
that the pursuit of knowledge exists. Indeed it is, 


as a rule, only when all other wants are well supplied 
that, by way of ease and recreation, men turn to 
this inquiry. And thus, since no satisfaction beyond 
itself is sought by philosophy, we speak of it as we 
speak of the freeman. We call that man free whose 
existence is for himself and not for another ; so also 
philosophy is of all the sciences the only one that is 
free, for it alone exists for itself. 

" Moreover, this philosophy, which is the investiga 
tion of the first causes of things, is the most truly 
educative among the sciences. For instructors are 
persons who show us the causes of things. And 
knowledge for the sake of knowledge belongs most 
properly to that inquiry which deals with what is 
most truly a matter of knowledge. For he who is 
seeking knowledge for its own sake will choose to 
have that knowledge which most truly deserves the 
name, the knowledge, namely, of what most truly 
appertains to knowledge. Now the things that most 
truly appertain to knowledge are the first causes ; 
for in virtue of one s possession of these, and by 
deduction from these, all else comes to be known ; 
we do not come to know them through what is 
inferior to them and underlying them. . . . The wise 
man ought therefore to know not only those things 
which are the outcome and product of first causes, 
he must be possessed of the truth as to the first 
causes themselves. And wisdom indeed- is just this 


thoughtful science, a science of what is highest, not 
truncated of its head. 

301 " To the man, therefore, who has in fullest 
measure this knowledge of universals, all knowledge 
must lie to hand ; for in a way he knows all that 
underlies them. Yet in a sense these universals are 
what men find hardest to apprehend, because they 
stand at the furthest extremity from the perceptions 
of sense. 

302 " Yet if anything exist which is eternal, immov 
able, freed from gross matter, the contemplative 
science alone can apprehend this. Physical science 
certainly cannot, for physics is of that which is ever 
in flux ; nor can mathematical science apprehend it ; 
we must look to a mode of science prior to and 
higher than both. The objects of physics are neither 
unchangeable nor free from matter ; the objects of 
mathematics are indeed unchangeable, but we can 
hardly say they are free from matter ; they have 
certainly relations with matter. But the first and 
highest science has to do with that which is unmoved 
and apart from matter ; its function is with the 
eternal first causes of things. There are therefore 
three modes of theoretical inquiry : the science of 
physics, the science of mathematics, the science of 
God. For it is clear that if the divine is anywhere, 
it must be in that form of existence I have spoken 
of (i.e. in first causes). ... If, therefore, there be 


any form of existence immovable, this we must 
regard as prior, and the philosophy of this we must 
consider the first philosophy, universal for the same 
reason that it is first. It deals with existence as 
such, inquiring what it is and what are its attributes 
as pure existence." 

This is somewhat more technical than the 
language of Plato, but if we compare it with what 
was said above (p. 142) we shall find an essential 
identity. Yet Aristotle frequently impugns Plato s 
doctrine of ideas, sometimes on the lines already 
taken by Plato himself (above, p. 1 5 8), sometimes 322 
in other ways. Thus (Met. Z. I 5, 1 6) he says : " That 
which is one cannot be in many places at one time, 
but that which is common or general is in many 
places at one time. Hence it follows that no uni 
versal exists apart from the individual things. But 
those who hold the doctrine of ideas, on one side are 
right, viz. in maintaining their separate existence, if 
they are to be substances or existences at all. On 
the other side they are wrong, because by the idea 
or form which they maintain to be separate they 
mean the one attribute predicable of many things. 
The reason why they do this is because they cannot 
indicate what these supposed imperishable essences 
are, apart from the individual substances which are 
the objects of perception. The result is that they 
simply represent them under the same forms as 


those of the perishable objects of sensation which 
are familiar to our senses, with the addition of a 
phrase i.e. they say * man as such, horse as such/ 
or the absolute man, * the absolute horse. " 

Aristotle here makes a point against Plato and 
his school, inasmuch as, starting from the assumption 
that of the world of sense there could be nojcnc-w* 
ledge, no apprehension fixed or certain, and setting 
over against this a world of general forms which 
were fixed and certain, they had nothing with which 
to fill this second supposed world except the data of 
sense as found in individuals. Plato s mistake was 
in confusing the mere this, which is the conceived 
starting-point of any sensation, but which, like a 
mathematical point, has nothing which can be said 
about it, with individual objects as they exist and 
are known in all the manifold and, in fact, infinite 
relations of reality. The bare subject this pre 
sents at the one extreme the same emptiness, the 
same mere possibility of knowledge, which is pre 
sented at the other by the bare predicate * is. But 
Plato, having an objection to the former, as represent 
ing to him the merely physical and therefore the 
passing and unreal, clothes it for the nonce in the 
various attributes which are ordinarily associated 
with it when we say, this man, this horse, only 
to strip them off successively as data of sensa 
tion, and so at last get, by an illusory process of 


abstraction and generalisation, to the ultimate gener 
ality of being, which is the mere * is of bare 
predication converted into a supposed eternal sub 

Aristotle was as convinced as Plato that there 
must be some fixed and immovable object or reality 
corresponding to true and certain knowledge, but 
with his scientific instincts he was not content to have 
it left in a condition of emptiness, attractive enough 
to the more emotional and imaginative Plato. And 
hence we have elsewhere quite as strong and definite 
statements as those quoted above about universals 
(p. 1 80), to the effect that existence is in the fullest 316 
and most real sense to be predicated of individual 
things, and that only in a secondary sense can exist- 
tence be predicated of universals, in virtue of their 
being found in individual things. Moreover, among 
universals the species, he maintains, has more of 
existence in it than the genus, because it is nearer to 
the individual or primary existence. For if you pre 
dicate of an individual thing of what species it is, 
you supply a statement more full of information and 
more closely connected with the thing than if you 
predicate to what genus it belongs ; for example, if 
asked, " What is this ? " and you answer, " A man," 
you give more information than if you say, "A living 

How did Aristotle reconcile these two points of 


view, the one, in which he conceives thought as start- 
ing from first causes, the most universal objects of 
knowledge, and descending to particulars ; the other, 
in which thought starts from the individual objects, 
and predicates of them by apprehension of their 
properties ? The antithesis is no accidental one ; on 
the contrary, it is the governing idea of his Logic, 
with its ascending process or Induction, and its 
descending process or Syllogism. Was thought a 
mere process in an unmeaning circle, the upward 
and downward way of Plato ? 

As to this we may answer first that while formally 
Aristotle displays much the same dualism or un 
reconciled separation of the thing and the idea 
as Plato, his practical sense and his scientific instincts 
led him to occupy himself largely not with either the 
empty thing or the equally empty idea, but with 
the true individtials, which are at the same time the 
true universals, namely, real objects as known, hav 
ing, so far as they are known, certain forms or 
categories under which you can class them, having, 
so far as they are not yet fully known, a certain raw 
material for further inquiry through observation. In 
this way Thought and Matter, instead of being in 
eternal and irreconcilable antagonism as the Real 
and the Unreal, become parts of the same reality, 
the first summing up the knowledge of things 
already attained, the second symbolising the infinite 


possibilities of further ascertainment. And thus the 317 
word Matter is applied by Aristotle to the highest 
genus,"~aTthe relatively indefinite compared with the 
more fully defined species included under it ; it is 
also applied by him to the individual object, in so far 
as that object contains qualities not yet fully brought 
into predication. 

And second, we observe that Aristotle introduced 319 
a new conception which to his view established a 
vital relation between the universal and the individual. 
This conception he formulated in the correlatives, 
Potentiality and Actuality. With these he closely 
connected the idea of Final Cause. The three to 
Aristotle constituted a single reality ; they are 
organically correlative. In a living creature we find 
a number of members or organs all closely inter 
dependent and mutually conditioning each other. 
Each has its separate function, yet none of them can 
perform its particular function well unless all the 
others are performing theirs well, and the effect of 
the right performance of function by each is to enable 
the others also to perform theirs. The total result 
of all these mutually related functions is Life ; this 
is their End or Final Cause, which does not exist 
apart from them, but is constituted at every moment 
by them. This Life is at the same time the condi 
tion on which alone each and every one of the 
functions constituting it can be performed. Thus 


life in an organism is at once the end and the middle 
and the beginning ; it is the cause final, the cause 
formal, the cause efficient. Life then is an Entelechy, 
as Aristotle calls it, by which he means the realisa 
tion in unity of the total activities exhibited in the 
members of the living organism. 

In such an existence every part is at once a 
potentiality and an actuality, and so also is the whole. 
We can begin anywhere and travel out from that 
point to the whole ; we can take the whole and find 
in it all the parts. 

ARISTOTLE (continued} 

IF we look closely at this conception Tof Aristotle s 
we shall see that it has a nearer relation to the 
Platonic doctrine of Ideas, and even to the doctrine 
of Reminiscence, than perhaps even Aristotle himself 
realised. The fundamental conception of Plato, it 
will be remembered, is that of an eternally existing 
thought of God, in manifold forms or ideas, 
which come into the consciousness of men in connec 
tion with or on occasion of sensations, which are 
therefore in our experience later than the sensations, 
but which we nevertheless by reason recognise as 
necessarily prior to the sensations, inasmuch as it is 
through these ideas alone that the sensations are 
knowable or namable at all. Thus the final end for 
man is by contemplation and daily dying to the 
world of sense, to come at last into the full inherit 
ance in conscious knowledge of that * thought of 
God which was latent from the first in his soul, and 
of which in its fulness God Himself is eternally and 
necessarily possessed. 


3ii This is really Aristotle s idea, only Plato expresses 
it rather under a psychological, Aristotle under a 
vital, formula. God, Aristotle says, is eternally and 
necessarily Entelechy, absolute realisation. To us, 
that which is first in time (the individual perception) 
is not first in essence, or absolutely. What is first in 
essence or absolutely, is the universal, that is, the 
form or idea, the datum of reason. And this dis 
tinction between time and the absolute, between our 
individual experience and the essential or ultimate 
reality, runs all through the philosophy of Aristotle. 
The Realisation of Aristotle is the Reminiscence 
of Plato. 

This conception Aristotle extended to Thought, 
to the various forms of life, to education, to morals, 
to politics. 

Thought is an entelechy, an organic whole, in 
which every process conditions and is conditioned 
by every other. If we begin with sensation, the sensa 
tion, blank as regards predication, has relations to that 
which is infinitely real, the object, the real thing be 
fore us, which relations science will never exhaust. 
If we start from the other end, with the datum of 
thought, consciousness, existence, mind, this is equally 
blank as regards predication, yet it has relations to 
another existence infinitely real, the subject that 
thinks, which relations religion and morality and 
sentiment and love will never exhaust. Or, as Aris- 


totle and as common sense prefers to do, if we, with 
our developed habits of thought and our store of ac 
cumulated information, choose to deal with things 
from a basis midway between the two extremes, in 
the ordinary way of ordinary people, we shall find 
both processes working simultaneously and in organic 
correlation. That is to say, we shall be increasing the 
individuality of the objects known, by the operation 
of true thought and observation in the discovery of 
new characters or qualities in them ; we shall be 
increasing by the same act the generality of the 
objects known, by the discovery of new relations, new 
genera under which to bring them. Individualisa- 
tion and generalisation are only opposed, as mutually 
conditioning factors of the same organic function. 

This analysis of thought must be regarded rather 316 
as a paraphrase of Aristotle than as a literal tran 
script. He is hesitating and obscure, and at times 
apparently self-contradictory. He has not, any more 
than Plato, quite cleared himself of the confusion 
between the mutually contrary individual and uni 
versal in propositions, and the organically correlative 
individual and universal in tilings as known. But on 
the whole the tendency of his analysis is towards an 
apprehension of the true realism, which neither denies 
matter in favour of mind nor mind in favour of 
matter, but recognises that both mind and matter are 
organically correlated, and ultimately identical. 


The crux of philosophy, so far as thus appre 
hended by Aristotle, is no longer in the supposed 
dualism of mind and matter, but there is a crux still. 
What is the meaning of this Ultimately ? Or, 
putting it in Aristotle s formula, Why this relation of 
potentiality and actuality? Why this eternal com 
ing to be, even if the coming to be is no unreasoned 
accident, but a coming to be of that which is vitally 
or in germ there ^ Or theologically, Why did God 
make the world ? Why this groaning and travailing 
of the creature? Why this eternal By and by 
wherein all sin is to disappear, all sorrow to be con 
soled, all the clashings and the infinite deceptions of 
life to be stilled and satisfied? An illustration of 
Aristotle s attempt to answer this question will be 
given later on (p. 201). That the answer is a failure 
need not surprise us. If we even now see only as 
in a glass darkly on such a question, we need not 
blame Plato or Aristotle for not seeing * face to 

326 Life is an entelechy, not only abstractedly, as 
already shown (above, p. 186), but in respect of the 
varieties of its manifestations. We pass from the 
elementary life of mere growth common to plants and 
animals, to the animal life of impulse and sensation, 
thence we rise still higher to the life of rational action 
which is the peculiar function of man. Each is a 
potentiality to that which is immediately above it ; in 


other words, each contains in germ the possibilities 
which are realised in that stage which is higher. 
Thus is there a touch of nature which makes the 
whole world kin, a purpose running through all the 
manifestations of life ; each is a preparation for 
something higher. 

Education is in like manner an entelechy. For 339 
what is the differentia, the distinguishing character 
of the life of man ? Aristotle answers, the possession 
of reason. It is the action of reason upon the desires 
that raises the life of man above the brutes. This, 
observe, is not the restraining action of something 
wholly alien to the desires, which is too often how 
Plato represents the matter. This would be to lose 
the dynamic idea. The desires, as Aristotle generally 
conceives them, are there in the animal life, prepared, 
so to speak, to receive the organic perfection which 
reason alone can give them. Intellect, on the other 
hand, is equally in need of the desires, for thought 
without desire cannot supply motive. If intellect is 
logos or reason, desire is that which is fitted to be 
obedient to reason. 

It will be remembered that the question to which 
Plato addressed himself in one of his earlier dialogues, 
already frequently referred to, the Meno, was the 
teachableness of Virtue ; in that dialogue he comes 
to the conclusion that Virtue is teachable, but that 
there are none capable of teaching it ; for the 


wise men of the time are guided not by know 
ledge but by right opinion, or by a divine instinct 
which is incommunicable. Plato is thus led to 
seek a machinery of education, and it is with a 
view to this that he constructs his ideal Republic. 
Aristotle took up this view of the state as educative 
of the individual citizens, and brought it under the 
dynamic formula. In the child reason is not actual ; 
there is no rational law governing his acts, these are 
the immediate result of the strongest impulse. Yet 
only when a succession of virtuous acts has formed 
the virtuous habit can a man be said to be truly 
good. How is this process to begin ? The answer 
is that the reason which is only latent or dynamic in 
the child is actual or realised in the parent or teacher, 
or generally in the community which educates the 
child. The law at first then is imposed on the child 
from without, it has an appearance of unnaturalness, 
but only an appearance. For the law is there in the 
child, prepared, as he goes on in obedience, gradually 
to answer from within to the summons from without, 
till along with the virtuous habit there emerges also 
into the consciousness of the child, no longer a child 
but a man, the apprehension of the law as his own 
truest nature. 

These remarks on education are sufficient to 
show that in Morals also, as conceived by Aristotle, 
there is a law of vital development. It may be 


sufficient by way of illustration to quote the intro 
ductory sentences of Aristotle s Ethics, in which 
the question of the nature of the chief good is, in 
his usual tentative manner, discussed : " If there be 
any end of what we do which we desire for itself, 
while all other ends are desired for it, that is, if we 
do not in every case have some ulterior end (for if 
that were so we should go on to infinity, and our 
efforts would be vain and useless), this ultimate end 
desired for itself will clearly be the chief good and 
the ultimate best. Now since every activity, whether 
of knowing or doing, aims at some good, it is for us 
to settle what the good is which the civic activity 
aims at, what, in short, is the ultimate end of all 
goods connected with conduct ? So far as the 
name goes all are pretty well agreed as to the answer ; 
gentle and simple alike declare it to be happiness, 
involving, however, in their minds on the one hand 
well-living, on the other hand, well-doing. When 
you ask them, however, to define this happiness more 
exactly, you find that opinions are divided, and the 
many and the philosophers have different answers. 

" But if you ask a musician or a sculptor or any 
man of skill, any person, in fact, who has some special 
work and activity, what the chief good is for him, he 
will tell you that the chief good is in the work well 
done. If then man has any special work or func 
tion, we may assume that the chief good for man 



will be in the well-doing of that function. What 
now is man s special function ? It cannot be mere 
living, for that he has in common with plants, and 
we are seeking what is peculiar to him. The mere 
life of nurture and growth must therefore be put on 
one side. We come next to life as sensitive to 
pleasure and pain. But this man shares with the 
horse, the ox, and other animals. What remains is 
the life of action of a reasonable being. Now of 
reason as it is in man there are two parts, one obey 
ing, one possessing and considering. And there 
are also two aspects in which the active or moral life 
may be taken, one potential, one actual. Clearly for 
our definition of the chief good we must take the 
moral life in its full actual realisation, since this is 
superior to the other. 

"If our view thus far be correct, it follows that the 
chief good for man consists in the full realisation and 
perfection of the life of man as man, in accordance 
with the specific excellence belonging to that life, 
and if there be more specific excellences than one, 
then in accordance with that excellence which is the 
best and the most rounded or complete. We must 
add, however, the qualification, in a rounded life. For 
one swallow does not make a summer, nor yet one 
day. And so one day or some brief period of 
attainment is not sufficient to make a man happy 
and blest" 


The close relation of this to the teaching of 
Socrates and Plato need hardly be insisted on, or 
the way in which he correlates their ideas with his 
own conception of an actualised perfection. 

Aristotle then proceeds to a definition of the 340 
specific excellence or virtue of man, which is to be 
the standard by which we decide how far he has fully 
and perfectly realised the possibilities of his being. 
To this end he distinguishes in man s nature three 
modes of existence : first, feelings such as joy, pain, 
anger ; second, potentialities or capacities for such 
feelings ; third, habits which are built upon these 
potentialities, but with an element of reason or 
deliberation superadded. He has no difficulty in 
establishing that the virtue of man must be a habit 
And the test of the excellence of that habit, as of 
every other developed capacity, will be twofold ; it 
will make the worker good, it will cause him to 
produce good work. 

So far Aristotle s analysis of virtue is quite on 
the lines of his general philosophy. Here, however, 
he diverges into what seems at first a curiously 
mechanical conception. Pointing out that in every 
thing quantitative there are two extremes conceivable, 
and a mean or average between them, he proceeds 
to define virtue as a mean between two extremes, a 
mean, however, having relation to no mere numerical 
standard, but having reference to us. In this last 


qualification he perhaps saves his definition from its 
mechanical turn, while he leaves himself scope for 
much curious and ingenious observation on the 
several virtues regarded as means between two 
extremes. He further endeavours to save it by 
adding, that it is " defined by reason, and as the wise 
man would define it." 

Reason then, as the impersonal ruler, the wise 
man, as the personification of reason, this is the 
standard of virtue, and therefore also of happi 
ness. How then shall we escape an externality 
in our standard, divesting it of that binding char 
acter which comes only when the law without is 
also recognised and accepted as the law within ? 
The answer of Aristotle, as of his predecessors, is 
that this will be brought about by wise training and 
virtuous surroundings, in short, by the civic com 
munity being itself good and happy. Thus we get 
another dynamic relation ; for regarded as a member 
of the body politic each individual becomes a poten 
tiality along with all the other members, conditioned 
by the state of which he and they are members, brought 
gradually into harmony with the reason which is in 
the state, and in the process realising not his own 
possibilities only, but those of the community also, 
which exists only in and through its members. Thus 
each and all, in so far as they realise their own well- 
being by the perfect development of the virtuous 


habit in their lives, contribute ipso facto to the 
supreme end of the state, which is the perfect 
realisation of the whole possibilities ^of the total 
organism, and consequently of every member of it. 

The State therefore is also an entelechy. For 342 
man is not made to dwell alone. " There is first the 
fact of sex ; then the fact of children ; third, the fact 
of variety of capacity, implying variety of position, 
some having greater powers of wisdom and fore 
thought, and being therefore naturally the rulers ; 
others having bodily powers suitable for carrying out 
the rulers designs, and being therefore naturally 
subjects. Thus we have as a first or simplest com 
munity the family, next the village, then the full or 
perfect state, which, seeking to realise an absolute 
self-sufficiency within itself, rises from mere living to 
well-living as an aim of existence. This higher 
existence is as natural and necessary as any simpler 
form, being, in fact, the end or final and necessary 
perfection of all such lower forms of existence. Man 
therefore is by the natural necessity of his being a 
political animal, and he who is not a citizen, that 
is, by reason of something peculiar in his nature and 
not by a mere accident, must either be deficient 
or something superhuman. And while man is the 
noblest of animals when thus fully perfected in 
an ordered community, on the other hand when 
deprived of law and justice he is the very worst. 


For there is nothing so dreadful as lawlessness armed. 
And man is born with the arms of thought and 
special capacities or excellences, which it is quite 
possible for him to use for other and contrary 
purposes. And therefore man is the most wicked 
and cruel animal living when he is vicious, the most 
lustful and the most gluttonous. The justice which 
restrains all this is a civic quality ; and law is the 
orderly arrangement of the civic community " (Arist. 
Pol. i. p. 2). 


ARISTOTLE (concluded] 

THROUGHOUT Aristotle s physical philosophy the 
same conception runs : " All animals in their fully 334 
developed state require two members above all one 
whereby to take in nourishment, the other whereby 
to get rid of what is superfluous. For no animal 
can exist or grow without nourishment. And there 
is a third member in them all half-way between 
these, in which resides the principle of their life. 
This is the heart, which all blood-possessing animals 
have. From it comes the arterial system which 
Nature has made hollow to contain the liquid blood. 
The situation of the heart is a commanding one, 
being near the middle and rather above than below, 
and rather towards the front than the back. For 
Nature ever establishes that which is most honour 
able in the most honourable places, unless some 
supreme necessity overrules. We see this most 
clearly in the case of man ; but the same tendency 
for the heart to occupy the centre is seen also in 


other animals, when we regard only thalt portion of 
their body which is essential, and the limit of this is 
at the place where superfluities are removed. The 
limbs are arranged differently in different animals, 
and are not among the parts essential to life ; con 
sequently animals may live even if these are 
removed. . . . Anaxagoras says that man is the 
wisest of animals because he possesses hands. It 
would be more reasonable to say that he possesses 
hands because he is the wisest. For the hands are 
an instrument ; and Nature always assigns an instru 
ment to the one fitted to use it, just as a sensible 
man would. For it is more reasonable to give a 
flute to a flute-player than to confer on a man who 
has some flutes the art of playing them. To that 
which is the greater and higher she adds what is less 
important, and not vice versa. Therefore to the 
creature fitted to acquire the largest number of 
skills Nature assigned the hand, the instrument 
useful for the largest number of purposes " (Arist. 
De Part. An. iv. p. 10). 

And in the macrocosm, the visible and invisible 
world about us, the same conception holds : " The 
existence of God is an eternally perfect entelechy, a 
life everlasting. In that, therefore, which belongs to 
the divine there must be an eternally perfect move 
ment. Therefore the heavens, which are as it were 
the body of the Divine, are in form a sphere, of 


necessity ever in circular motion. Why then is 
not this true of every portion of the universe ? 
Because there must of necessity be a point of rest of 
the circling body at the centre. Yet the circling 
body cannot rest either as a whole or as regards any 
part of it, otherwise its motion could not be eternal, 
which by nature it is. Now that which is a violation 
of nature cannot be eternal, but the violation is 
posterior to that which is in accordance with nature, 
and thus the unnatural is a kind of displacement or 
degeneracy from the natural, taking the form of a 
coming into being. 

" Necessity then requires earth, as the element 
standing still at the centre. Now if there must be 
earth, there must be fire. For if one of two opposites 
is natural or necessary, the other must be necessary 
too, each, in fact, implying the necessity of the other. 
For the two have the same substantial basis, only 
the positive form is naturally prior to the negative ; 
for instance, warm is prior to cold. And in the 
same way motionlessness and heaviness are predicated 
in virtue of the absence of motion and lightness, i.e. 
the latter are essentially prior. 

" Further, if there are fire and earth, there must 
also be the elements which lie between these, each 
having an antithetic relation to each. From this it 
follows that there must be a process of coming into 
being, because none of these elements can be eternal, 


but each affects, and is affected by each, and they 
are mutually destructive. Now it is not to be argued 
that anything which can be moved can be eternal, 
except in the case of that which by its own nature 
has eternal motion. And if coming into being 
must be predicated of these, then other forms of 
change can also be predicated " (Arist. De Coelo, 
ii. p. 3). 

This passage is worth quoting as illustrating, not 
only Aristotle s conception of the divine entelechy, 
but also the ingenuity with which he gave that 
appearance of logical completeness to the vague and 
ill-digested scientific imaginations of the time, which 
remained so evil an inheritance for thousands of 
years. It is to be observed, in order to complete 
Aristotle s theory on this subject, that the four 
elements, Earth, Water, Air, Fire, are all equally 
in a world which is " contrary to nature," that is, 
the world of change, of coming into being, and 
going out of being. Apart from these there is the 
element of the Eternal Cosmos, which is " in accord 
ance with nature," having its own natural and eternal 
motion ever the same. This is the fifth or divine 
element, the aetherial, by the schoolmen translated 
Quinta Essentia, whence by a curious degradation 
we have our modern word Quintessence, of that 
which is the finest and subtlest extract. 

Still more clearly is the organic conception carried 


out in Aristotle s discussion of the Vital principle or 
Soul in the various grades of living creatures and in 
man. It will be sufficient to quote at length a 
chapter of Aristotle s treatise on the subject (De 
Anima> ii. p. i) in which this fundamental conception of 
Aristotle s philosophy is very completely illustrated : 

" Now as to Substance we remark that this is one 
particular category among existences, having three 
different aspects. First there is, so to say, the raw 
material or Matter, having in it no definite character 
or quality ; next the Form or Specific character, in 
virtue of which the thing becomes namable ; and 
third, there is the Thing or Substance which these 
two together constitute. The Matter is, in other 
words, the potentiality of the thing, the Form is the 
realisation of that potentiality. We may further 
have this realisation in two ways, corresponding 
in character to the distinction between knowledge 
(which we have but are not necessarily using) and 
actual contemplation or mental perception. 

"Among substances as above defined those are 
most truly such which we call bodily objects, and 
among these most especially objects which are the 
products of nature, inasmuch as all other bodies 
must be derived from them. Now among such 
natural objects some are possessed of life, some are 
not ; by life I mean a process of spontaneous 
nourishment, growth, and decay. Every natural 


object having life is a substance compounded, so to 
say, of several qualities. It is, in fact, a bodily 
substance defined in virtue of its having life. 
Between the living body thus defined and the Soul 
or Vital principle, a marked distinction must be 
drawn. The body cannot be said to subsist in 
something else ; rather must we say that it is the 
matter or substratum in which something else 
subsists. And what we mean by the soul is just 
this substance in the sense of the form or specific 
character that subsists in the natural body which 
is potentially living. In other words, the Soul is 
substance as realisation, only, however, of such a 
body as has just been defined. Recalling now the 
distinction between realisation as possessed know 
ledge and as actual contemplation, we shall see that 
in its essential nature the Soul or Vital principle 
corresponds rather with the first than with the. 
second. For both sleep and waking depend on the 
Soul or Life being there, but of these waking only 
can be said to correspond with the active form of 
knowledge ; sleep is rather to be compared with the 
state of having without being immediately conscious 
that we have. Now if we compare these two states 
in respect of their priority of development in a 
particular person, we shall see that the state of 
latent possession comes first. We may therefore 
define the Soul or Vital principle as The earliest 


realisation (entelechy] of a natural body having in it 
the potentiality of life. 

" To every form of organic structure this definition 
applies, for even the parts of plants are organs, 
although very simple ones ; thus the outer leaf is a 
protection to the pericarp, and the pericarp to the 
fruit. Or, again, the roots are organs bearing an 
analogy to the mouth in animals, both serving to 
take in food. Putting our definition, then, into a 
form applicable to every stage of the Vital principle, 
we shall say that The Soul is the earliest realisation 
of a natural body having organisation. 

"In this way we are relieved from the necessity 
of asking whether Soul and body are one. We 
might as well ask whether the wax and the impres 
sion are one, or, in short, whether the matter of any 
object and that whereof it is the matter or substratum 
are one. As has been pointed out, unity and sub 
stantiality may have several significations, but the 
truest sense of both is found in realisation. 

" The general definition of the Soul or Vital 
principle above given may be further explained as 
follows. The Soul is the rational substance (or 
function), that is to say, it is that which gives essen 
tial meaning and reality to a body as knowable. 
Thus if an axe were a natural instrument or organ, 
its rational substance would be found in its realisation 
of what an axe means ; this would be its soul Apart 


from such realisation it would not be an axe at all, 
except in name. Being, however, such as it is, the 
axe remains an axe independently of any such 
realisation. For the statement that the Soul is the 
reason of a thing, that which gives it essential mean 
ing and reality, does not apply to such objects as an 
axe, but only to natural bodies having power of 
spontaneous motion (including growth) and rest. 

" Or we may illustrate what has been said by 
reference to the bodily members. If the eye be a 
living creature, sight will be its soul, for this is the 
rational substance (or function) of the eye. On the 
other hand, the eye itself is the material substance 
in which this function subsists, which function being 
gone, the eye would no longer be an eye, except in 
name, just as we can speak of the eye of a statue or 
of a painted form. Now apply this illustration from 
a part of the body to the whole. For as any one 
sense stands related to its organ, so does the vital 
sense in general to the whole sensitive organism as 
such, always remembering that we do not mean a 
dead body, but one which really has in it potential 
life, as the seed or fruit has. Of course there is a 
form of realisation to which the name applies in a 
specially full sense, as when the axe is actually cutting, 
the eye actually seeing, the man fully awake. But 
the Soul or Vital principle corresponds rather with 
the function of sight, or the capacity for cutting which 


the axe has, the body, on the other hand, standing in 
a relation of potentiality to it. Now just as the eye 
may mean both the actual organ or pupil, and also 
the function of sight, so also the living creature means 
both the body and the soul. We cannot, therefore, 
think of body apart from soul, or soul apart from 
body. If, however, we regard the soul as composed 
of parts, we can see that the realisation to which we 
give the name of soul is in some cases essentially a 
realisation of certain parts of the body. We may, 
however, conceive the soul as in other aspects 
separable, in so far as the realisation cannot be con 
nected with any bodily parts. Nay, we cannot be 
certain whether the soul may not be the realisation 
or perfection of the body as the sailor is of his 

Observe that at the last Aristotle, though very 
tentatively, leaves an opening for immortality, where, 
as in the case of man, there are functions of the soul, 
such as philosophic contemplation, which cannot be 
related to bodily conditions. He really was convinced 
that in man there was a portion of that diviner aether 
which dwelt eternally in the heavens, and was the 
ever-moving cause of all things. If there was in 
man a passive mind, which became all things, as all 
things through sensation affected it, there was also, 
Aristotle argued, a creative mind in man, which is 
above, and unmixed with, that which it apprehends, 


gives laws to this, is essentially prior to all particular 
knowledge, is therefore eternal, not subject to the 
conditions of time and space, consequently inde 

Finally, as a note on Aristotle s method, one may 
observe in this passage, first, Aristotle s use of f defin 
ing examples, the wax, the leaf and fruit, the axe, 
the eye, etc. ; second, his practice of developing his 
distinctions gradually, Form and Matter in the ab 
stract, then in substances of every kind, then in 
natural bodies, then in organic bodies of various 
grades, in separate organs, in the body as a whole, 
and in the Soul as separable in man ; and thirdly, 
his method of approaching completeness in thought, 
by apparent contradictions or qualifications, which 
aim at meeting the complexity of nature by an 
equally organised complexity of analysis. To this 
let us simply add, by way of final characterisation, 
that in the preceding pages we have given but the- 
merest fragment here and there of Aristotle s vast 
accomplishment. So wide is the range of his ken, so 
minute his observation, so subtle and complicated 
and allusive his illustrations, that it is doubtful if any 
student of his, through all the centuries in which he 
has influenced the world, ever found life long enough 
to fairly and fully grasp him. Meanwhile he retains 
his grasp upon us. Form and matter, final and 
efficient causes, potential and actual existences, 


substance, accident, difference, genus, species, predica 
tion, syllogism, deduction, induction, analogy, and 
multitudes of other joints in the machinery df 
thought for all time, were forged for us in the work 
shop of Aristotle. 



PHILOSOPHY, equally complete, equally perfect in 
all its parts, had its final word in Plato and Aristotle ; 
on the great lines of universal knowledge no further 
really original structures were destined to be raised 
by Greek hands. We have seen a parallelism 
between Greek philosophy and Greek politics in 
their earlier phases (see above, p. 82) ; the same 
parallelism continues to the end. Greece broke the 
bonds of her intense but narrow civic life and civic 
thought, and spread herself out over the world in a 
universal monarchy and a cosmopolitan philosophy ; 
but with this widening of the area of her influence 
reaction came and disruption and decay ; an immense 
stimulus was given on the one hand to the political 
activity, on the other, to the thought and knowledge 
of the world as a whole, but at the centre Greece 
was living Greece no more, her politics sank to the 
level of a dreary farce, her philosophy died down to 
a dull and spiritless scepticism, to an Epicureanism 


that { seasoned the wine-cup with the dust of death, or 
to a Stoicism not undignified yet still sad and narrow 
and stern. The hope of the world, alike in politics 
and in philosophy, faded as the life of Greece decayed. 

The first phase of the change, Scepticism^ or 356 
Pyrrhonism, as it was named from its first teacher, 
need not detain us long. Pyrrho was priest of Elis ; 
in earlier life he accompanied Alexander the Great 
as far as India, and is said to have become acquainted 
with certain of the philosophic sects in that country. 
In his sceptical doctrine he had, like his predecessors, 
a school with its succession of teachers ; but the 
world has remembered little more of him or them 358 
than two phrases suspense of judgment this for 
the intellectual side of philosophy ; impassibility 
this for the moral. The doctrine is a negation of 
doctrine, the idle dream of idle men ; even Pyrrho 
once, when surprised in some sudden access of fear, 
confessed that it was hard for him to get rid of the 
man in himself. Vigorous men and growing nations 
are never agnostic. They decline to rest in mere 
suspense ; they are extremely the opposite of impas 
sive ; they believe earnestly, they feel strongly. 

A more interesting, because more positive and 365 
constructive, personality was that of Epicurus. This 
philosopher was born at Samos, in the year 341 B.C., 
of Athenian parents. He came to Athens in his 
eighteenth year. Xenocrates was then teaching at 


the Academy, Aristotle at the Lyceum, but Epicurus 
heard neither the one nor the other. After some 
wanderings he returned to Athens and set up on his 
366 own account as a teacher of philosophy. He made 
it a matter of boasting that he was a self-taught 
philosopher; and Cicero (De Nat. Deor. i. 26) sar 
castically remarks that one could have guessed as 
much, even if Epicurus had not stated it himself ; as 
one might of the proprietor of an ugly house, who 
should boast that he had employed no architect. The 
style of Epicurus was, in fact, plain and unadorned, 
but he seems all the same to have been able to say 
what he meant ; and few if any writers ancient 
or modern have ever had so splendid a literary 
tribute, as Epicurus had from the great Roman poet 
Lucretius, his follower and expositor. 

" Glory of the Greek race," he says, " who first 
hadst power to raise high so bright a light in the 
midst of darkness so profound, shedding a beam on 
all the interests of life, thee do I follow, and in the 
markings of thy track do I set my footsteps now. 
Not that I desire to rival thee, but rather for love of 
thee would fain call myself thy disciple. For how 
shall the swallow rival the swan, or what speed may 
the kid with its tottering limbs attain, compared with 
the brave might of the scampering steed ? Thou, 
O father, art the discoverer of nature, thou suppliest 
to us a father s teachings, and from thy pages, 


illustrious one, even as bees sip all manner of sweets 
along the flowery glades, we in like manner devour 
all thy golden words, golden and right worthy to 
live for ever. For soon as thy philosophy, birth of 
thy godlike mind, hath begun to declare the origin 
of things, straightway the terrors of the soul are 
scattered, earth s walls are broken apart, and through 
all the void I see nature in the working. I behold 
the gods in manifestation of their power, I discern 
their blissful seats, which never winds assail nor rain- 
clouds sprinkle with their showers, nor snow falling 
white with hoary frost doth buffet, but cloudless 
aether ever wraps them round, beaming in broad 
diffusion of glorious light. For nature supplies their 
every want nor aught impairs their peace of soul. 
But nowhere do I see any regions of hellish darkness, 
nor does the earth impose a barrier to our sight of 
what is done in the void beneath our feet. Where 
fore a holy ecstasy and thrill of awe possess me, 
while thus by thy power the secrets of nature are 
disclosed to view" (Lucret. De Nat. Rer. iii. 1-30). 

This devotion to the memory of Epicurus on 367 
the part of Lucretius was paralleled by the love felt 
for him by his contemporaries ; he had crowds of 
followers who loved him and who were proud to 
learn his words by heart. He seems indeed to have 
been a man of exceptional kindness and amiability, 
and the garden of Epicurus became proverbial as 


a place of temperate pleasures and wise delights. 
Personally we may take it that Epicurus was a man of 
simple tastes and moderate desires ; and indeed 
throughout its history Epicureanism as a rule of 
conduct has generally been associated with the finer 
forms of enjoyment, rather than the more sensual. 
The * sensual sty is a nickname, not a description. 

369 Philosophy Epicurus defined as a process of 
thought and reasoning tending to the realisation of 
happiness. Arts or sciences which had no such 
practical end he contemned ; and, as will be observed 
in Lucretius praises of him above, even physics 
had but one purpose or interest, to free the soul from 

370 terrors of the unseen. Thus philosophy was mainly 
concerned with conduct, i.e. with Ethics, but second 
arily and negatively with Physics, to which was 
appended what Epicurus called Canonics, or the 
science of testing, that is, a kind of logic. 

371 Beginning with Canonics, as the first part of phil 
osophy in order of time, from the point of view of 
human knowledge, Epicurus laid it down that the 
only source of knowledge was the senses, which gave 
us an immediate and true perception of that which 
actually came into contact with them. Even the 
visions of madmen or of dreamers he considered 
were in themselves true, being produced by a physical 
cause of some kind, of which these visions were the 
direct and immediate report. Falsity came in with 


people s interpretations or imaginations with respect 
to these sensations. 

Sensations leave a trace in the memory, and out 
of similarities or analogies among sensations there 
are developed in the mind general notions or types, 
such as man, house, which are also true, because 
they are reproductions of sensations. Thirdly, 373 
when a sensation occurs, it is brought into rela 
tion in the mind with one or more of these types 
or notions ; this is predication, true also in so far as 
its elements are true, but capable of falsehood, as 
subsequent or independent sensation may prove. If 
supported or not contradicted by sensation, it is or 
may be true ; if contradicted or not supported by 
sensation, it is or may be false. The importance of 
this statement of the canon of truth or falsehood 
will be understood when we come to the physics of 
Epicurus, at the basis of which is his theory of 
Atoms, which by their very nature can never be 
directly testified to by sensation. 

This and no more was what Epicurus had to 374 
teach on the subject of logic. He had no theory of 
definition, or division, or ratiocination, or refutation, 
or explication ; on all these matters Epicurus was, 
as Cicero said, naked and unarmed. Like most 
self-taught or ill-taught teachers, Epicurus trusted to 
his dogmas ; he knew nothing and cared nothing for 
logical defence. 


375 In his Physics Epicurus did little more than 
reproduce the doctrine of Democritus. He starts 
from the fundamental proposition that nothing can 
be produced from nothing, nothing can really perish. 
The veritable existences in nature are the Atoms, 
which are too minute to be discernible by the 
senses, but which nevertheless have a definite size, 
and cannot further be divided. They have also 
a definite weight and form, but no qualities other 
than these. There is an infinity of empty space ; this 
Epicurus proves on abstract grounds, practically 
because a limit to space is unthinkable. It follows 
that there must be an infinite number of the atoms, 
otherwise they would disperse throughout the infinite 
void and disappear. There is a limit, however, to 
the number of varieties among the atoms in respect 
of form, size, and weight. The existence of the void 
space is proved by the fact that motion takes place, 
to which he adds the argument that it necessarily 
exists also to separate the atoms one from another. 
So far Epicurus and Democritus are agreed. 

To the Democritean doctrine, however, Epicurus 
made a curious addition, to which he himself is said to 
have attached much importance. The natural course 
(he said) for all bodies having weight is downwards 
in a straight line. It struck Epicurus that this bekig 
so, the atoms would all travel for ever in parallel 
lines, and those clashings and interminglings of 


atoms out of which he conceived all visible forms to 
be produced, could never occur. He therefore laid it 
down that the atoms deviated the least little bit from 
the straight, thus making a world possible. And 
Epicurus considered that this supposed deviation of 
the atoms not only made a world possible, but human 
freedom also. In the deviation, without apparent 
cause, of the descending atoms, the law of necessity 
was broken, and there was room on the one hand for 
man s free will, on the other, for prayer to the gods, 
and for hope of their interference on our behalf. 

It may be worth while summarising the proofs 
which Lucretius in his great poem, professedly 
following in the footsteps of Epicurus, adduces for 
these various doctrines. 

Epicurus first dogma is, Nothing proceeds from 
nothing, that is, every material object has some 
matter previously existing exactly equal in quantity 
to it, out of which it was made. To prove this 
Lucretius appeals to the order of nature as seen in 
the seasons, in the phenomena of growth, in the fixed 
relations which exist between life and its environ 
ment as regards what is helpful or harmful, in the 
limitation of size and of faculties in the several 
species and the fixity of the characteristics generally 
in each, in the possibilities of cultivation and im 
provement of species within certain limits and under 
certain conditions. 


To prove his second position, * Nothing passes 
into nothing, Lucretius points out to begin with that 
there is a law even in destruction ; force is required 
to dissolve or dismember anything ; were it other 
wise the world would have disappeared long ago. 
Moreover, he points out that it is from the elements 
set free by decay and death that new things are built 
up ; there is no waste, no visible lessening of the 
resources of nature, whether in the generations of 
living things, in the flow of streams and the fulness 
of ocean, or in the eternal stars. Were it not so, 
infinite time past would have exhausted all the matter 
in the universe, but Nature is clearly immortal. 
Moreover, there is a correspondence between the 
structure of bodies and the forces necessary to their 
destruction. Finally, apparent violations of the law, 
when carefully examined, only tend to confirm it. 
The rains no doubt disappear, but it is that their 
particles may reappear in the juices of the crops and 
the trees and the beasts which feed on them. 

Nor need we be surprised at the doctrine that the 
atoms, so all-powerful in the formation of things, are 
themselves invisible. The same is true of the forest- 
rending blasts, the viewless winds which lash the 
waves and overwhelm great fleets. There are odours 
also that float unseen upon the air ; there are heat, 
and cold, and voices. There is the process of evap 
oration, whereby we know that the water has gone, 


yet cannot see its vapour departing. There is the 
gradual invisible detrition of rings upon the ringer, 
of stones hollowed out by dripping water, of the 
ploughshare in the field, and the flags upon the 
streets, and the brazen statues of the gods whose 
fingers men kiss as they pass the gates, and the rocks 
that the salt sea-brine eats into along the shore. 

That there is Empty Space or Void he proves by 
all the varied motions on land and sea which we 
behold ; by the porosity even of hardest things, as 
we see in dripping caves. There is the food also 
which disperses itself throughout the body, in trees 
and cattle. Voices pass through closed doors, frost 
can pierce even to the bones. Things equal in size 
vary in weight ; a lump of wool has more of void in 
it than a lump of lead. So much for Lucretius. 

For abstract theories on physics, except as an 
adjunct and support to his moral conceptions, 
Epicurus seems to have had very little inclination. 
He thus speaks of the visible universe or Cosmos. 
The Cosmos is a sort of skyey enclosure, which holds 375 
within it the stars, the earth, and all visible things. 
It is cut off from the infinite by a wall of division 
which may be either rare or dense, in motion or at 
rest, round or three-cornered or any other form. 
That there is such a wall of division is quite admis 
sible, for no object of which we have observation is 
without its limit. Were this wall of division to 


break, everything contained within it would tumble 
out. We may conceive that there are an infinite 
number of such Cosmic systems, with inter-cosmic 
intervals throughout the infinity of space. 

He is very disinclined to assume that similar 
phenomena, e.g. eclipses of the sun or moon, always 
have the same cause. The various accidental impli 
cations and interminglings of the atoms may produce 
the same effect in various ways. In fact Epicurus 
has the same impatience of theoretical physics as of 
theoretical philosophy. He is a * practical man. 
378 He is getting nearer his object when he comes to 
the nature of the soul. The soul, like everything else, 
is composed of atoms, extremely delicate and fine. 
It very much resembles the breath, with a mixture 
of heat thrown in, sometimes coming nearer in nature 
to the first, sometimes to the second. Owing to the 
delicacy of its composition it is extremely subject to 
variation, as we see in its passions and liability to 
emotion, its phases of thought and the varied experi 
ences without which we cannot live. It is, moreover, 
the chief cause of sensation being possible for us. 
Not that it could of itself have had sensation, without 
the enwrapping support of the rest of the structure. 
The rest of the structure, in fact, having prepared 
this chief cause, gets from it a share of what comes 
to it, but not a share of all which the soul has. 

The soul being of material composition equally 


with the other portions of the bodily structure, dies 
of course with it, that is, its* particles like the rest are 
dispersed, to form new bodies. There is nothing 
dreadful therefore about death, for there is nothing 
left to know or feel anything about it. 

As regards the process of sensation, Epicurus, 
like Democritus, conceived bodies as having a power 
of emitting from their surface extremely delicate 
images of themselves. These are composed of very 
fine atoms, but, in spite of their tenuity, they are 
able to maintain for a considerable time their 
relative form and order, though liable after a time to 
distortion. They fly with great celerity through the 
void, and find their way through the windows of the 
senses to the soul, which by its delicacy of nature is 
in sympathy with them, and apprehends their form. 

The gods are indestructible, being composed of 379 
the very finest and subtlest atoms, so as to have 
not a body, but as it were a body. Their life is one 
of perfect blessedness and peace. They are in 
number countless ; but the conceptions of the vulgar 
are erroneous respecting them. They are not 
subject to the passions of humanity. Anger and 
joy are alike, alien to their nature ; for all such 
feelings imply a lack of strength. They dwell apart 
in the inter -cosmic spaces. As Cicero jestingly 
remarks : " Epicurus by way of a joke introduced 
his gods so pure that you could see through them, 


so delicate that the wind could blow through them, 
having their dwelling-place outside between two 
worlds, for fear of breakage." 

380 Coming finally to Epicurus theory of Ethics, 
we find a general resemblance to the doctrine of 
Democritus and Aristippus. The end of life is 
pleasure or the absence of pain. He differs, however, 
from the Cyrenaics in maintaining that not the 
pleasure of the moment is the end, but pleasure 
throughout the whole of life, and that therefore we 
ought in our conduct to have regard to the future. 
Further he denies that pleasure exists only in 
activity, it exists equally in rest and quiet ; in short, 
he places more emphasis in his definition on the 
absence of pain or disturbance, than on the presence 
of positive pleasure. And thirdly, while the Cyrenaics 
maintained that bodily pleasures and pains were the 
keenest, Epicurus claimed these characteristics for 
the pleasures of the mind, which intensified the 
present feeling by anticipations of the future and 
recollections of the past. And thus the wise man 
might be happy, even on the rack. Better indeed 
was it to be unlucky and wise, than lucky and 
foolish. In a similar temper Epicurus, on his death 
bed wrote thus to a friend : " In the- enjoyment of 
blessedness and peace, on this the last day of my 
life I write this letter to you. Strangury has 
supervened, and the extremest agony of internal 


pains, yet resisting these has been my joy of soul, 
as I recalled the thoughts which I have had in the 

We must note, however, that while mental 381 
pleasures counted for much with the Epicureans, 
these mental pleasures consisted not in thought for 
thought s sake in any form ; they had nothing to 
do with contemplation. They were essentially 
connected with bodily experiences ; they were the 
memory of past, the anticipation of future, bodily 
pleasures. For it is to be remembered that thoughts 
were with Epicurus only converted sensations, and 
sensations were bodily processes. Thus every joy of 
the mind was conditioned by a bodily experience 
preceding it. Or as Metrodorus, Epicurus disciple, 
defined the matter : " A man is happy when his 
body is in good case, and he has good hope that it 
will continue so." Directly or indirectly, therefore, 
every happiness came back, in the rough phrase of 
Epicurus, to one s belly at last. 

This theory did not, however, reduce morality to 382 
bestial self-indulgence. If profligate pleasures could 
be had free from mental apprehensions of another 
world and of death and pain and disease in this, and 
if they brought with them guidance as to their own 
proper restriction, there would be no reason what 
ever to blame a man for filling himself to the full of 
pleasures, which brought no pain or sorrow, that is, 


no evil, in their train. But (Epicurus argues) this is 
far from being the case. Moreover there are many 
pleasures keen enough at the time, which are by no 
means pleasant in the remembering. And even when 
we have them they bring no enjoyment to the highest 
parts of our nature. What those highest parts are, 
and by what standard their relative importance is 
determined, Epicurus does not say. He probably 
meant those parts of our nature which had the widest 
range in space and time, our faculties, namely, of 
memory and hope, of conception, of sight and hearing. 

Moreover there are distinctions among desires ; 
some are both natural and compulsory, such as thirst ; 
some are natural but not compulsory, as the desire 
for dainties ; some are neither natural nor com 
pulsory, such as the desire for crowns or statues. 
The last of these the wise man will contemn, the 
second he will admit, but so as to retain his freedom. 
For independence of such things is desirable, not 
necessarily that we may reduce our wants to a, 
minimum, but in order that if we cannot enjoy many 
things, we may be content with few. " For I am 
convinced," Epicurus continues, " that they have the 
greatest enjoyment of wealth, who are least dependent 
upon it for enjoyment." 

Thus if Epicurus did not absolutely teach sim 
plicity of living, he taught his disciples the necessity 
of being capable of such simplicity, which they could 


hardly be without practice. So that in reality the 
doctrine of Epicurus came very near that of his 
opponents. As Seneca the Stoic observed, " Pleasure 
with him comes to be something very thin and pale. 
In fact that law which we declare for virtue, the 
same law he lays down for pleasure." 

One of the chief and highest pleasures of life 
Epicurus found in the possession of friends, who 
provided for each other not only help and protec 
tion, but a lifelong joy. For the larger friendship 
of the civic community, Epicurus seems to have had 
only a very neutral regard. Justice, he says, is a 
convention of interests, with a view of neither hurting 
or being hurt. The wise man will have nothing to 
do with politics, if he can help it. 

In spite of much that may offend in the doctrines 
of Epicurus, there is much at least in the man which 
is sympathetic and attractive. What one observes, 
however, when we compare such a philosophy with 
that of Plato or Aristotle, is first, a total loss of con 
structive imagination. The parts of the philosophy, 
if we are so to call it, of Epicurus hang badly together, 
and neither the Canonics nor the Physics show any 
real faculty of serious thinking at all. The Ethics 
has a wider scope and a more real relation to 
experience if not to reason. But it can never satisfy 
the deeper apprehension of mankind. 

The truest and most permanently valid revelations 


of life come not to the many but to the one or the 
few, who communicate the truth to the many, some 
times at the cost of their own lives, always at the 
cost of antagonism and ridicule. A philosophy 
therefore which only represents in theoretical form 
the average practice of the average man, comes 
into the world still-born. It has nothing to say; 
its hearers know it all, and the exact value of it all, 
already. And in their heart of hearts, many even 
of those who have stooped to a lower ideal, and sold 
their birthright of hopes beyond the passing hour, 
for a mess of pottage in the form of material suc 
cess and easy enjoyment, have a lurking contempt 
for the preachers of what they practise ; as many a 
slaveholder in America probably had for the clerical 
defenders of the divine institution. 

There is a wasting sense of inadequacy in this 
hand-to-mouth theory of living, which compels 
most of those who follow it to tread softly and 
speak moderately. They are generally a little 
weary if not cynical ; they don t think much of 
themselves or of their success ; but they prefer 
to hold on as they have begun, rather than launch 
out into new courses, which they feel they have not 
the moral force to continue. " May I die," said the 
Cynic, " rather than lead a life of pleasure." " May 
I die," says the Epicurean, " rather than make a 
fool of myself." The Idealist is to them, if not 


a hypocrite, at least a visionary, if not a Tar- 
tuffe, at least a Don Quixote tilting at wind 
mills. Yet even for poor Don Quixote, with all 
his blindness and his follies, the world retains a 
sneaking admiration. It can spare a few or a good 
many of its worldly-wisdoms, rather than lose alto 
gether its enthusiasms and its dreams. And the 
one thing which saves Epicureanism from utter 
extinction as a theory, is invariably the idealism 
which like a purple patch adorns it here and there. 
No man and no theory is wholly self-centred. 
Pleasure is supplanted by Utility, and Utility becomes 
the greatest Happiness of the greatest Number, and 
so, as Horace says (Ep. I. x. 24) 

Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret, 

Nature (like Love) thrust out of the door, will come 
back by the window ; and the Idealism which is 
not allowed to make pain a pleasure, is required at 
last to translate pleasure into pains. 



ZENO, the founder of the Stoic school of philosophy 
(born circa 340 B.C.), was a native of Citium in 
Cyprus. The city was Greek, but with a large 
Phoenician admixture. And it is curious that in 
this last and sternest phase of Greek thought, not the 
founder only, but a large proportion of the successive 
leaders of the school, came from this and other places 
having Semitic elements in them. Among these 
places notable as nurseries of Stoicism was Tarsus 
in Cilicia, the birthplace of St. Paul. The times of 
preparation were drawing to a close ; and through 
these men, with their Eastern intensity and capaci 
ties of self-searching and self-abasement, the philo 
sophy of Greece was linking itself on to the wisdom 
of the Hebrews. 

Zeno came to Athens to study philosophy, and 
for twenty years he was a pupil first of Crates the 
Cynic, and then of other teachers. At length he 
set up a school of his own in the celebrated Stoa 


Poecile (Painted Colonnade), so named because it 
was adorned with frescoes by Polygnotus. There 
he taught for nearly sixty years, and voluntarily 
ended his life when close on a century old. His 
life, as Antigonus, King of Macedon, recorded on 
his tomb, was consistent with his doctrine ab 
stemious, frugal, laborious, dutiful. He was sue- 386 
ceeded by Cleanthes, a native of Assos in Asia 
Minor. But the great constructor of the Stoic 337 
doctrine, without whom, as his contemporaries said, 
there had been no Stoic school at all, was Chrysippus, 
a native of Soli or of Tarsus in Cilicia. He wrote 
at enormous length, supporting his teachings by an 
immense erudition, and culling liberally from the 
poets to illustrate and enforce his views. Learned 
and pedantic, his works had no inherent attraction, 
and nothing of them but fragments has been pre 
served. We know the Stoic doctrine mainly from 
the testimony and criticisms of later times. 

Like the Epicureans, Zeno and his successors 339 
made philosophy primarily a search for the chief 
good, a doctrine of practice and morals. But like 
them they were impelled to admit a logic and a 
physics, at least by way of preliminary basis to their 
ethics. The relations of the three they illustrated 390 
by various images. Philosophy was like an animal ; 
logic was its bones and sinews, ethics its flesh, 
physics its life or soul. Or again, philosophy was 


an egg ; logic was the shell, ethics the white, physics 
the yolk. Or again, it was a fruitful field ; logic was 
the hedge, ethics the crop, physics the soil. Or it 
was a city, well ordered and strongly fortified, and 
so on. The images seem somewhat confused, but 
the general idea is clear enough. Morality was the 
essential, the living body, of philosophy ; physics 
supplied its raw material, or the conditions under 
which a moral life could be lived ; logic secured that 
we should use that material rightly and wisely for 
the end desired. 

391 Logic the Stoics divided into two parts Rhetoric, 
the science of the open hand, and Dialectic, the 
science of the closed fist, as Zeno called them. 
They indulged in elaborate divisions and subdivisions 
of each, with which we need not meddle. The only 
points of interest to us are contained in their analysis 

392 of the processes of perception and thought A 
sensation, Zeno taught, was the result of an external 
imptilse, which when combined with an internal assent, 
produced a mental state that revealed at the same 
time itself and the external object producing it. 
The perception thus produced he compared to the 
grip which the hand took of a solid object ; and real 
perceptions, those, that is, which were caused by a 
real external object, and not by some illusion, always 
testified to the reality of their cause by this sensa 
tion of grip. 


The internal assent of the mind was voluntary, 
and at the same time necessary ; for the mind could 
not do otherwise than will the acceptance of that 
which it was fitted to receive. The peculiarity of 
their physics, which we shall have to refer to later 
on, namely, the denial of the existence of anything 
not material, implied that in some way there was a 
material action of the external object on the structure 
of the perceiving mind (itself also material). What 
exactly the nature of this action was the Stoics 
themselves were not quite agreed. The idea of an 
impression such as a seal makes upon wax was a 
tempting one, but they had difficulty in comprehend 
ing how there could be a multitude of different 
impressions on the same spot without effacing each 
other. Some therefore preferred the vaguer and 
safer expression, modification ; had they possessed 
our modern science, they might have illustrated their 
meaning by reference to the phenomena of magnetism 
or electricity. 

An interesting passage may be quoted from 
Plutarch on the Stoic doctrine of knowledge : " The 
Stoics maintain," he says, "that when a human being is 
born, he has the governing part of his soul like a sheet 
of paper ready prepared for the reception of writing, 
and on this the soul inscribes in succession its various 
ideas. The first form of the writing is produced 
through the senses. When we perceive, for example, 


a white object, the recollection remains when the 
object is gone. And when many similar recollections 
have accumulated, we have what is called experience. 
Besides the ideas which we get in this natural and 
quite undesigned way, there are other ideas which 
we get through teaching and information. In the 
strict sense only these latter ought to be called ideas ; 
the former should rather be called perceptions. Now 
the rational faculty, in virtue of which we are called 
reasoning beings, is developed out of, or over and 
beyond, the mass of perceptions, in the second seven 
years period of life. In fact a thought may be 
defined as a kind of mental image, such as a rational 
animal alone is capable of having." 

Thus there are various gradations of mental 
apprehensions ; first, those of sensible qualities ob 
tained through the action of the objects and the 
assent of the perceiving subject, as already described ; 
then by experience, by comparison, by analogy, by 
the combinations of the reasoning faculty, further 
and more general notions are arrived at, and con 
clusions formed, as, for example, that the gods exist 
and exercise a providential care over the world. By 
this faculty also the wise man ascends to the appre 
hension of the good and true. 

The physics of the Stoics started from the funda 
mental proposition that in the universe of things 
there were two elements the active and the passive. 


The latter was Matter or unqualified existence ; the 
former was the reason or qualifying element in 
Matter, that is, God, who being eternal, is the 
fashioner of every individual thing throughout the 
universe of matter. God is One ; He is Reason, 
and Fate, and Zeus. In fact all the gods are only 
various representations of His faculties and powers. 
He being from the beginning of things by Himself, 
turneth all existence through air to water. And 
even as the genital seed is enclosed in the semen, so 
also was the seed of the world concealed in the 
water, making its matter apt for the further birth of 
things ; then first it brought into being the four 
elements fire, water, air, earth. For there was a 
finer fire or air which was the moving spirit of things ; 
later and lower than this were the material elements 
of fire and air. It follows that the universe of things 
is threefold ; there is first God Himself, the source 
of all character and individuality, who is indestructible 
and eternal, the fashioner of all things, who in certain 
cycles of ages gathers up all things into Himself, 
and then out of Himself brings them again to birth ; 
there is the matter of the universe whereon God 
works ; and thirdly, there is the union of the two. 
Thus the world is governed by reason and fore 
thought, and this reason extends through every part, 
even as the soul or life extends to every part of us. 
The universe therefore is a living thing, having a 


soul or reason in it. This soul or reason one 
teacher likened to the air, another to the sky, another 
to the sun. For the soul of nature is, as it were, 
a finer air or fire, having a power of creation in it, 
and moving in an ordered way to the production of 

399 The universe is one and of limited extension, 
being spherical in form, for this is the form which 
best adapts itself to movement. Outside this uni 
verse is infinite bodiless space ; but within the uni 
verse there is no empty part ; all is continuous and 
united, as is proved by the harmony of relation which 
exists between the heavenly bodies and those upon 
the earth. The world as such is destructible, for its 
parts are subject to change and to decay ; yet is this 
change or destruction only in respect of the qualities 
imposed upon it from time to time by the Reason 
inherent in it ; the mere unqualified Matter remains 

403 In the universe evil of necessity exists ; for evil 
being the opposite of good, where no evil is there no 
good can be. For just as in a comedy there are 
absurdities, which are in themselves bad, but yet add 
a certain attraction to the poem as a whole, so also 
one may blame evil regarded in itself, yet for the 
whole it is not without its use. So also God is 
the cause of death equally with birth ; for even as 
cities when the inhabitants have multiplied overmuch, 


remove their superfluous members by colonisation or 
by war, so also is God a cause of destruction. In 
man in like manner good cannot exist save with 
evil ; for wisdom being a knowledge of good and evil, 
remove the evil and wisdom itself goes. Disease 
and other natural evils, when looked at in the light 
of their effects, are means not of evil but of good ; 
there is throughout the universe a balance and inter 
relation of good and evil. Not that God hath in 
Himself any evil ; the law is not the cause of law 
lessness, nor God Himself responsible for any violation 
of right. 

The Stoics indulged in a strange fancy that the 404 
world reverted after a mighty cycle of years in all 
its parts to the same form and structure which it 
possessed at the beginning, so that there would be 
once more a Socrates, a Plato, and all the men that 
had lived, each with the same friends and fellow- 
citizens, the same experiences, and the same en 
deavours. At the termination of each cycle there 
was a burning up of all things, and thereafter a 
renewal of the great round of life. 

Nothing incorporeal, they maintained, can be 408 
affected by or affect that which is corporeal ; body 
alone can affect body. The soul therefore must be 
corporeal. Death is the separation of soul from 
body, but it is impossible to separate what is in 
corporeal from body ; therefore, again, the soul must 


be corporeal. In the belief of Cleanthes, the souls of 
all creatures remained to the next period of cyclic 
conflagration ; Chrysippus believed that only the 
souls of the wise and good remained. 
413 Coming finally to the Ethics of the Stoic philo 
sophy, we find for the chief end of life this definition, 
A life consistent with itself, or, as it was otherwise 
expressed, A life consistent with Nature. The 
two definitions are really identical ; for the law of 
nature is the law of our nature, and the reason in our 
being the reason which also is in God, the supreme 
Ruler of the universe. This is substantially in 
accordance with the celebrated law of right action 
laid down by Kant, " Act so that the maxim of thine 
action be capable of being made a law of universal 
action." Whether a man act thus or no, by evil if 
not by good the eternal law will satisfy itself; the 
question is of import only for the man s own happiness. 
Let his will accord with the universal will, then the 
law will be fulfilled, and the man will be happy. 
Let his will resist the universal will, then the law 
will be fulfilled, but the man will bear the penalty. 
This was expressed by Cleanthes in a hymn which 
ran somewhat thus 

Lead me, O Zeus most great, 

And thou, Eternal Fate : 
What way soe er thy will doth bid me travel 
That way I ll follow without fret or cavil. 


Or if I evil be 
And spurn thy high decree. 
Even so I still shall follow, soon or late. 

Thus in the will alone consists the difference of 
good or ill for us ; in either case Nature s great law 
fulfils itself infallibly. To their view on this point 
we may apply the words of Hamlet : " If it be now, 
tis not to come ; if it be not to come, it will be now ; 
if it be not now, yet it will come ; the readiness 
is all." 

This universal law expresses itself in us in various 
successive manifestations. From the moment of birth 
it implants in us a supreme self-affection, whereby of 
infallible instinct we seek our own self-preservation, 
rejoice in that which is suitable to our existence, 
shrink from that which is unsuitable. As we grow 


older, further and higher principles manifest them 
selves reason and reflection, a more and more care 
ful and complete apprehension of that which is 
honourable and advantageous, a capacity of choice 
among goods. Till finally the surpassing glory of 
that which is just and honourable shines out so clear 
upon us, that any pain or loss is esteemed of no 
account, if only we may attain to that. Thus at 
last, by the very law of our being, we come to know 
that nothing is truly and absolutely good but good 
ness, nothing absolutely bad but sin. Other things, 
inasmuch as they have no character of moral good 


or moral evil, cannot be deemed really good or bad ; 
in comparison with the absolutely good, they are 
things indifferent, though in comparison with each 
other they may be relatively preferable or relatively 
undesirable. Even pleasure and pain, so far as 
concerns the absolute end or happiness of our being, 
are things indifferent ; we cannot call them either 
good or evil. Yet have they a relation to the higher 
law, for the consciousness of them was so implanted 
in us at the first that our souls by natural impulse 
are drawn to pleasure, while they shrink from pain 
as from a deadly enemy. Wherefore reason neither 
can nor ought to seek wholly to eradicate these 
primitive and deep-seated affections of our nature; 
but so to exercise a resisting and ordering influence 
upon them, as to render them obedient and sub 
servient to herself. 

415 That which is absolutely good wisdom, righteous 
ness, courage, temperance does good only and never 
ill to us. All other things, life, health, pleasure, 
beauty, strength, wealth, reputation, birth, and their 
opposites, death, disease, pain, deformity, weakness, 
poverty, contempt, humility of station, these are in 
themselves neither a benefit nor a curse. They may 
do us good, they may do us harm. We may use 
them for good, we may use them for evil. 

417 Thus the Stoics worked out on ideal and absolute 
lines the thought of righteousness as the chief and 


only good. Across this ideal picture were con 
tinually being drawn by opponents without or in 
quirers within, clouds of difficulty drawn from real 
experience. * What, it was asked, of progress in 
goodness ? Is this a middle state between good and 
evil ; or if a middle state between good and evil be 
a contradiction in terms, how may we characterise 
it? Here the wiser teachers had to be content to 
answer that it tended towards good, was good in 
possibility, would be absolutely good when the full 
attainment came, and the straining after right had 
been swallowed up in the perfect calm of settled 

How also of the wise man tormented by pain, 
or in hunger and poverty and rags, is his perfectness 
of wisdom and goodness really sufficient to make 
him happy? Here, again, the answer had to be 
hesitating and provisional, through no fault of the 
Stoics. In this world, while we are still under the 
strange dominion of time and circumstance, the ideal 
can never wholly fit the real. There must still be 
difficulty and incompleteness here, only to be solved 
and perfected when iniquity shall have an end. 
Our eyes may fail with looking upward, yet the 
upward look is well ; and the jibes upon the Stoic 
* king in rags that Horace and others were so fond 
of, do not affect the question. It may have been, 
and probably often was, the case that Stoic teachers 


were apt to transfer to themselves personally 
the ideal attributes, which they justly assigned 
to the ideal man in whom wisdom was perfected. 
The doctrine gave much scope for cant and mental 
pride and hypocrisy, as every ideal doctrine does, 
including the Christian. But the existence of these 
vices in individuals no more affected the doctrine of 
an ideal goodness in its Stoic form, than it does now 
in its Christian one. That only the good man is 
truly wise or free or happy ; that vice, however 
lavishly it surround itself with luxury and ease and 
power, is inherently wretched and foolish and slavish ; 
these are things which are worth saying and worth 
believing, things, indeed, which the world dare not 
and cannot permanently disbelieve, however difficult 
or even impossible it may be to mark men off into 
two classes, the good and the bad, however strange 
the irony of circumstance which so often shows the 
wicked who are not troubled as other men, neither 
are they plagued like other men ; they have more 
than their heart could wish, while good men battle 
with adversity, often in vain. Still will the permanent, 
fruitful, progressive faith of man look to the end ; 
still will the ideal be powerful to plead for the painful 
right, and spoil, even in the tasting, the pleasant 

The doctrine, of course, like every doctrine worth 
anything, was pushed to extravagant lengths, and 


thrust into inappropriate quarters, by foolish doc 
trinaires. As that the wise man is the only orator, 
critic, poet, physician, nay, cobbler if you please ; 
that the wise man knows all that is to be known, 
and can do everything that is worth doing, and so 
on. The school was often too academic, too abstract, 
too fond of hearing itself talk. This, alas ! is what 
most schools are, and most schoolmasters. 

Yet the Stoics were not altogether alien to the 
ordinary interests and duties of life. They admitted a 
duty of co-operating in politics, at least in such states as 
showed some desire for, or approach to, virtue. They 
approved of the wise man taking part in education, 
of his marrying and bringing up children, both for 
his own sake and his country s. He will be ready 
even to withdraw himself from life on behalf of 
his country or his friends. This withdrawal, which 
was their word for suicide, came unhappily to be 
much in the mouths of later, and especially of the 
Roman, Stoics, who, in the sadness and restraint of 
prevailing despotism, came to thank God that no one 
was compelled to remain in life ; he might withdraw 
when the burden of life, the hopelessness of useful 
activity, became too great. 

With this sad, stern, yet not undignified note, the 
philosophy of Greece speaks its last word. The later 
scepticism of the New Academy, directed mainly to 
a negative criticism of the crude enough logic of the 



Stoics, or of the extravagances of their ethical 
doctrine, contributed no substantial element to 
thought or morals. As an eclectic system it had 
much vogue, side by side with Stoicism and 
Epicureanism, among the Romans, having as its 
chief exponent Cicero, as Epicureanism had Lucretius, 
and Stoicism, Seneca. 

The common characteristic of all these systems 
in their later developments, is their cosmopolitanism. 
Homo sum, nil humani a me alienum puto, I am a 
man ; nothing appertaining to humanity do I deem 
alien from myself, this was the true keynote of 
whatever was vital in any of them. And the reason 
of this is not far to seek. We have seen already 
(p. 82) how the chaos of sophistic doctrine was 
largely conditioned, if not produced, by the break 
down of the old civic life of Greece. The process 
hardly suffered delay from all the efforts of Socrates 
and Plato. Cosmopolitanism was already a point 
of union between the Cynics and Cyrenaics (see 
p. 128). And the march of politics was always 
tending in the same direction. First through great 
leagues, such as the Spartan or Athenian or Theban, 
each with a predominant or tyrannical city at the 
head ; then later through the conquest of Greece 
by Alexander, and the leaguing of all Greek-speaking 
peoples in the great invasion of Asia ; then through 
the spread of Greek letters all over the Eastern 


world, and the influx upon Greek centres such as 
Athens and Alexandria, of all manner of foreign 
intelligences ; and finally, through the conquest of 
all this teeming world of culture by the discipline 
and practical ability of Rome, and its incorporation 
in a universal empire of law, all the barriers which 
had divided city from city and tribe from tribe and 
race from race disappeared, and only a common 
humanity remained. 

The only effective philosophies for such a 
community were those which regarded man as an 
individual, with a world politically omnipotent 
hedging him about, and driving him in upon himself. 
Thus the New Academy enlarged on the doubtful 
ness of all beyond the individual consciousness ; 
Stoicism insisted on individual dutifulness, Epicurean 
ism on individual self-satisfaction. The first sought 
to make life worth living through culture, the second 
through indifference, the third through a moderate 
enjoyment. But all alike felt themselves very 
helpless in face of the growing sadness of life, 
in face of the deepening mystery of the world 
beyond. All alike were controversial, and quick 
enough to ridicule their rivals ; none was hopefully 
constructive, or (unless in the poetic enthusiasm of a 
Lucretius) very confident of the adequacy of its own 
conceptions. They all rather quickened the sense 
of emptiness in human existence, than satisfied it ; 


at the best they enabled men to " absent themselves 
a little while from the felicity of death." 

Thus all over the wide area of Greek and Roman 
civilisation, the activity of the later schools was 
effectual to familiarise humanity with the language 
of philosophy, and to convince humanity of the 
inadequacy of its results. Both of these things the 
Greeks taught to Saul of Tarsus ; at a higher Source 
he found the satisfying of his soul ; but from the 
Greek philosophies he learned the language through 
which the new Revelation was to be taught in the 
great world of Roman rule and Grecian culture. And 
thus through the Pauline theology, Greek philosophy 
had its part in the moral regeneration of the world ; 
as it has had, in later times, in every emancipation 
and renascence of its thought. 


ABDERA, birthplace of Democritus, 
74 ; of Protagoras, 86 

Absolute knowledge, unattainable 
by man, 19 ; absorption in, 133 ; 
no separate existence, 182 

Abstract ideas not derivable from 
experience, 45 ; abstract truth 
impossible, 87; of no value, 132; 
revival of, 133 

Acadeimts, grove of, 135 

Achilles and tortoise, 44 ; death of, 

Acroatic, kind of lectures, 175 

Actuality, see Realisation. 

Agrigentum, birthplace of Empe- 
docles, 59 

Air, beginning of things, 14 

Alcestis, referred to, 139 

Alcibiades, dialogue, 137 

Alexander, relations with Aristotle, 
174; influence of conquests of, 242 

Anarchy, in politics and in philo 
sophy, 83 ; reaction against, by 
Socrates, 102 

Anaxagoras, 52 ; relation of Em- 
pedocles to, 62 ; quoted by Aris 
totle, 200 

Anaximander, J 

Anaxi?nenes , 14 

Anthropomorphism, criticised, 32 

Antigonus, friend of Zeno, 229 

Antisthenes, 128 

Apology, dialogue, 136 

Appetite, the only reality, 96 

Archilochtis, criticised by Hera- 
clitus, 1 6 

Aristippus, 124 

Aristocracy, in politics and in 
philosophy, 82 

Aristotle, on Thales, 4 ; on Xeno- 
phanes, 32 ; on Zeno, 42 ; on 
Melissus, 47 ; on Anaxagoras, 
54 ; on Empedocles, 59, 63, 70 ; 
a complete Socratic, 103 ; on 
Socrates, 106; on Sophists, 115; 
debt to Plato, 159; on Plato, 
163 ; chapters on, 172 sqq. ; his 
fresh contributions to Academic 
philosophy, 173; two classes of 
lectures, 175 ; library, il>. ; pre 
dominance of, 176; style, 177; 
differences from Plato, 178 

Art, a greater revealer than science, 
66 ; relation of Love to, 137 ; a 
mode of creation, 139 

Asceticism, of Cynics, 128 ; of 
Plato, 1 68 ; of Epicurus, 225 

Atarneus, residence of Aristotle, 174 

Athens, visited by Parmenides and 
Zeno, 34, 42, 157 ; residence of 
Anaxagoras, 52 ; centre of soph 
istry, 85 ; birthplace of Socrates, 
103 ; visited by Aristippus, 124 ; 
birthplace of Antisthenes, 129 ; 
and of Plato, 1 34 ; dialogue in 
praise of, 137 ; residence of Aris 
totle, 173; of Epicurus, 211 

Atlantis, kingdom of, 153 

Atomists, 52; revived theory of, 

Atoms, constituents of nature, 76, 
216 ; deviation of, 216 

2 4 6 


BEAUTY, one aspect of ideal, no ; 
relation to creative instinct, 139 ; 
science of universal beauty, 141 

Becoming, the fundamental prin 
ciple, 1 6 ; passage from Being to, 
36, 39 

Beginning (apx n ), of Thales, 3 ; 
Aristotle s definition, 4 ; diffi 
culties of material theories of, 

Being, eternal being like a sphere, 
32 ; passage from, to Becoming, 
36, 39 ; a co-equal element with 
Nonentity, 75 ; analysis of, 159 ; 
and the Other, 165 

Body, realisation of soul, 27 ; a 
prison, 28 ; unthinkable except 
with reference to space, 75 ; 
source of illusion, 164 

CANONICS, form of logic, 215 
Cause, three causes, no; equals 

essence, 167 ; first causes subject 

of philosophy, 179; relation of, 

to potentiality, 185 
Cave, of this life, 148, 166 
Chaldaea, visited by Pythagoras, 

22 ; by Democritus, 74 
Change, how account for, 10, 35, 

39, 75 
Chaos, of the Atomists, 53 ; of Em- 

pedocles, 69 ; king in philosophy, 

83 ; life not a chaos, 105 
Charmides, dialogue, 136 
Christ, brings sword, 99 ; king 
dom of, 149 
Chrysippus, successor of Cleanthes, 

Cicero, mistranslates Pythagoras, 

28 ; criticises Epicurus, 212, 221 ; 

exponent of New Academy, 


Citium, birthplace of Zeno, 228 
Clazomenae, birthplace of Anaxa- 

goras, 52 
Cleanthes, successor of Zeno, 229 ; 

hymn of, 236 
Codrus, Plato descended from, 134; 

sacrifice of, 139 

Colophon, birthplace of Xeno- 
phanes, 31 

Commonplaces, function of, in 
sophistry, 84 

Community of wives, 148 ; ideal 
community, 149 (and see State] 

Contradiction, philosophy of, 65 

Cosmogony, of Democritus, 77 ; of 
Plato, 150; of Aristotle, 200; 
of Epicurus, 219 ; of the Stoics, 

Cosmopolitanism, of Cyrenaics and 
Cynics, 128 ; of later systems, 

Courage, treated of in Laches, 136 

Cratylus, dialogue, 137 

Creation, a great expiation, 73 ; in 
the soul, 139; working out of 
God s image, 151 ; union of 
Essence and Matter, 167 

Criterion, feeling the only, 127 

Critias, dialogue, 153 

Crito, dialogue, 136 

Crux, in philosophy, 190 

Cynic, origin of name, 13; i n 
fluence of school on Plato, 154; 
v. Epicurean, 226 

Cyrene, seat of Cyrenaic school, 
124; visited by Plato, 134; in 
fluence of school on Plato, 154 

DEATH, birth of the soul, 19 

Deduction, z>. Induction, 48 ; func 
tion of, in Aristotle, 184 

Definitions, search for, by Socrates, 
106 ; of no value, 132 ; rules for, 
laid down by Plato, 156 

Democritus, 74 ; relation of Epi 
curus to, 216 

Demonstrative science, based on 
abstraction, 1 1 

Desire, part of soul, 28, 169 ; 
thought without, gives no motive, 
191 ; distinctions among, 224 

Destruction, meaning of, 53 

Dialectic, Parmenides founder of, 
39 ; Zeno inventor of, 42 ; Pla 
tonic theory of, 164, 171 

Dichotomy, invented by Zeno, 43 



Difference (see Essence], all differ 
ence quantitative, 76 ; condi 
tioned by dissimilarity in atoms, 


Dilemma, Melissus use of, 46 

Diogenes, pupil of Antisthenes, 130 

Dionysitis, elder and younger, con 
nection of Plato with, 135 

Diotima, conversation of, with 
Socrates, 137 

Dry light, 19 

Dualism, unthinkable, 32 ; in 
nature, 38 ; of Plato and Aris 
totle, 184 

Dynamic, see Potentiality 

EARTH, principle in nature, 38 
Education, preparation for heaven, 

148 ; ideal, 149 ; true function 

of, 169; three stages, 170; an 

entelechy, 191 
Egypt, visited by Pythagoras, 22 ; 

Democritus, 74; Plato, 135 
Elect, seat of Eleatic school, 30 ; 

birthplace of Parmenides, 33 
Eleatics, relation of Empedocles 

to, 62 ; of Democritus, 75 ; of 

Plato, 154, 165 
Elements, the four, 62 ; in creation, 

151 ; in body and in soul, 156 
Empedocles, 58 
Ends of Life, indifference as to, 

96 ; importance in later Greek 

philosophy, 125 ; Plato s view 

of, 1 68 ; Aristotle s, 193 ; Epi 
curean, 222 
Entelechy, Life, 186, 190; God, 

1 88 ; Thought, ib. ; Education, 

191; Morality, 193; State, 197; 

physical world, 199 ; Soul, 203 
Ephesus, birthplace of Heraclitus, 

Epicurus, 211 ; praises of, by 

Lucretius, 212 ; garden of, 213 ; 

relation to Democritus, 216 
Essence v. Difference, 48 ; equals 

Cause, 167 
Eiidides, 132 
Euripides, friend of Anaxagoras, 52 

Euthydemus, conversation with So 
crates, 116; dialogue, 137 

Etithyphro, dialogue, 136 

Even, v. Odd, 24 

Evil, origin of, 33 ; necessary on 
earth, 168 ; God cause of evil, 
but hath none, 234 

Evolution, Anaximander s concep 
tion of, 12 ; Xenophanes theory 
of, 33 ; relation of, to funda 
mental conception of Being, ib. ; 
view of Empedocles, 70 

Existence, an idea prior to Time 
and Space, 37 ; not given by 
Experience, 45 ; four forms of, 
1 66 ; philosophy treats of exist 
ence as such, 181 

Exoteric kind of lectures, 175 

FEMALE, see Male 

Fire, original of things, 1 7 ; one of 
two principles, 38 

Flux, of all things, 16 ; of life, 27, 
73 ; sophistic theory of, 87 

Form,v. Matter, 25, 48; Aristotle s 
theory of, 203 

Formulae, never adequate, 122 

Freewill, problem of, 33 ; relation 
to law, 113; and overruling pro 
vidence, 155 

Friendship, treated of in Lysis, 

GENUS, has less of existence than 
species, 183 

God, soul of the world, 27 ; the 
Odd-Even, 26; the universe His 
self-picturing, 26 ; God is one, 
32 ; not a function of matter, 33 ; 
atomic origin of idea of, 80 ; the 
law or ideal in the universe, 112; 
Man the friend of God, 142 ; 
works out His image in creation, 
151 ; God s thought and God s 
working, 152; is Mind universal, 
164 ; cause of union in crea 
tion, 1 66 ; His visible images 
in Man and Nature, ib. ; cause 
both of good and of knowledge, 

2 4 8 


166 ; thoughts of, eternally exist 
ing, 187 ; an entelechy, 188 ; 
Epicurean theory of, 221 ; Stoic 
theory of, 233 

Golden age, 73 

Gorgias, 92 ; Antisthenes pupil of, 

129; dialogue, 137 
Greek v. Modern difficulties, 158 
Gymnastic, function of, 170 

HABIT, Aristotle s definition of, 


Happiness, chief good, 193 ; reason 
standard of, 196 

Harmony, the eternal, 19 ; soul a 
harmony, 29 

ffecataeuSf referred to by Hero 
dotus, 2 

Hegel, philosophic system of, 159 

Heraclitus, 1 5 ; z>. Democritus, 74 ; 
Plato student of, 134; relation of 
Plato to, 163 

Herctiles, patron - god of Cynics, 

Herodotus, notices Hecataeus, 2 

Hesiod, praised, 139 

Hippias, dialogue, 137 

Homer, criticised by Heraclitus, 
1 6 ; anthropomorphism of, 31 ; 
praised, 139 

Horace, quoted, 125 

Htimanitarianism , began in scep 
ticism, 99 

Humanity, granted only to pos 
sessors of eternal truth, 145 

Husk, symbol of evolution, 12 

IDEA, exists prior to sensation, 143 ; 
eternal in universe, 150 ; rational 
element in sensation, 152 ; Pla 
tonic criticism of, 157 ; universals 
are ideas of real existences, 163 ; 
things partake of, 164 ; relation 
of, to Pythagorean Numbers, 

167 ; Aristotelian criticism of, 
181 ; necessarily prior to sensa 
tion, 187 

Ideal, struggle of old and new, 99 ; 

in the arts, 1 10 ; has three as 
pects, Justice, Beauty, Utility, ib. ; 
great ideal in the universe, 1 12 ; 
can never wholly fit the real, 


Idealism, v. Practicality, 4, 96 ; 
Parmenides founder of, 39 ; v. 
Realism, 5 1 j z\ Epicureanism, 

Immortality, aspect of, to Greeks, 
40 ; Parmenides pioneer for, 41 ; 
Phaedo dialogue on, 136 ; Love 
and immortality, 138 ; of soul, 
150 ; relation of doctrine to 
Platonic recollection, 154 ; faith 
as to, 155 > Man must put on, 
1 68 ; Aristotle s view of, 207 

Inconsistency, not forbidden in 
philosophy, 64 

Individual, v. Universal, 99 ; rela 
tion of, to community, 147, 196 ; 
reality of, 184 ; importance of, in 
later systems, 243 

Individualism, in philosophy, 83, 
85 ; not wholly bad, 98 ; required 
reconciling with universalism, 

I Induction (see Deduction) ; Socrates 
inventor of, 106 ; Plato s con 
tributions to, 1 60; function of, 
in Aristotle, 184 

i Infinite or indefinite, origin of 
things, 8 ; function of, in mathe 
matics, 10 ; relation to definite, 
24, 26, 165 

Infinity, origin of idea of, 46 

Intellect, division of soul, 28, 169 ^ 

Ion, dialogue, 136 

Irony, of Socrates, 105 

JOWETT, Prof., quoted, 39, 43, 
89, 138, 142, 153, 158 

Judgment, vision of, 150 

Justice, a cheating device, 95 ; one 
form of ideal or universal, no; 
related to law and to utility, 120 ; 
the fairest wisdom, 139 ; dialogue 
on, 146; only interest of stronger, 
147 ; writ large in state, 147 ; 



perfection of whole man, and o 
state, 169 ; a civic quality re 
straining, 198 ; Epicurean theor> 
of, 225 

,^ his Critic referred to, 158 
maxim of, 236 

Knowledge, v. Opinion, 33, 35, 51 
impossible, 93; really exists, 164, 
first causes pertain to, 179 ; must 
have real object, 183 ; potential 
and actual, 203 

Know thyself J 113; dialogue on, 

LACHES, dialogue, 136 

Lampsacus, place of death of An- 
axagoras, 57 

Laughing philosopher, 74 

Law, in universe, 112; relation 
to Freewill, 113; relation to 
Justice, 120; fulfilled through 
Love, 122 ; Laws, dialogue, 160; 
potential and actual, 192 

Leontini, birthplace of Gorgias, 92 

Leucippus, 74 

Life^ death of the soul, 19 ; a 
prison, 28 ; a sentinel-post, ib. ; 
a union of contradictories, 66 ; a 
dwelling in cave, 148 ; organic 
idea of, 185 ; an entelechy, 190; 
different kinds of, 194; Aristotle s 
definition, 203 

Listeners, in Pythagorean system, 23 

Logic, Parmenides founder of, 39 ; 
Zeno inventor of, 42 ; contribu 
tions of Plato and Aristotle to, 
: 59; governing idea of Aris 
totle s, 184 ; of Epicurus, 215 ; 
Stoic divisions of, 230 

Love, motive force in Nature, 38 ; 
one of two principles, 38, 63 ; 
fulfilling of the law, 122 ; dia 
logues on, 137, 144; pure and 
impure, 145 

Liuretius, praises Empedocles, 59; 
Epicurus, 212; proofs by, of 
Epicurus theory, 217; exponent 
of Roman Epicureanism, 242 

Lyceum, school of Aristotle, 174 
Lycurgus, praised, 140 
Lysis, dialogue, 136 

MAGNET, soul of, 6 

Male and Female, Pythagorean 
view of, 24 ; principles in Nature, 
38 ; equality of, 148 ; correlative, 
167 ; basis of State, 197 

Man, measure of truth, 87 ; work 
ing with Eternal Mind, 155 ; 
Does Man partake in God s 
ideas? 158; differentia of, pos 
session of reason, 191 ; function 
of, 193 ; a political animal, 197 ; 
wisest of animals, why ? 200 

Materialism, ancient and modern, 
57; of Epicureans, 220; of Stoics, 

Mathematicians, in system of 
Pythagoras, 23 

Mathematics, based on indefin- 
ables, 10 ; function of, in Pytha 
gorean philosophy, 25 ; and in 
Platonic, 170 

Matter (see Mind], v. Thought, 48 ; 
another name for the formless, 
151, 167 ; correlative of Mind, 
167 ; what it symbolises, 184 ; 
relation to Form, 203 

Mechanical theory, of universe, 56, 
78 ; of virtue, 195 

Megara, birthplace of Euclides, 
132 ; influence of school on Plato, 


Mehssus, 46 

Menexemis, dialogue, 137 

Meno, dialogue, 136 ; relation to 
Aristotle s doctrine, 191 

Midwifery of Socrates, 104 

Might, without Right is weak, 147; 
is Right in tyrant, 149 

Milet^ts, birthplace of Thales, I ; 
of Anaximander, 7 > f Anaxi- 
menes, 14 

Mind, v. Matter, 51, 167 ; func 
tion of, in the universe, 54 ; 
God s mind working on matter, 
151; ruler of universe, 155; 



must rule pleasure, 156; home 
of ideas, 164 ; correlative of 
matter, 167 ; passive and crea 
tive, 207 

Moist or base element, 18 

Monarchy, in politics and in philo 
sophy, 82 

Morality, a convention, 95, 126 ; 
traditional morality of Greece 
required remodelling, 98 ; ques 
tion as to origin solved by 
Socrates, 121 ; can never ex 
haust Subject, 188; anentelechy, 
192 ; potential and actual, 194 

Motion, animal, how accounted for, 


Multiplicity, see Unity 

Music, of the spheres, 27 ; of 
seven planets, 151 ; function of, 
in education, 29, 170 

Myth, of Steeds, 144; of Judg 
ment, 150; of Creation, 152; 
philosophers fond of, 178 

NAMES, approximations to reality, 


Nature, treatises on, 16, 34, 46, 
217 ; a reason in, 37 ; male and 
female principles in, 38 ; Love 
motive force in, ib. ; the non 
existent, 92 ; touch of nature, 
191 ; Aristotle s conception of, 
199 ; violations of, 201 ; order 
of, 217 ; clearly immortal, 218 
a life consistent with, 236 
Necessity, creative power, 38, 63 ; 
how used by Democritus, 78 
Aristotle s conception of, 201 
Neleus, family (owners of Aristotle s 

library), 175 
NicomackuSf father of Aristotle, 172 
Notions, Epicurus view of, 215 
Number, original of things, 24 
relation of ideas to, 167 

OBEDIENCE, through disobedience 


Obscttre, epithet of Heraclitus, 1 5 
Odd, v. Even, 24 

Opinion, v. Knowledge, 33, 35 
Oracle, answer of, respecting So 
crates, 107 ; maxim engraved 
on, 113 
Organism, idea of, in Aristotle, 

185, 205 

Organon, of Aristotle, 159 
Origination, meaning of, 53> 62 
Other, the Other of Plato, 165 

PAINS, classification of, 131 ; con 
verted into pleasures, 131, 227 ; 
moral function of, 238 

Pantheistic apathy, 20 

Parmenides, 33 ; relation of Zeno 
to, 42 ; visited Athens, 157 ; 
dialogue, ib. 

Particiilar, see Universal 

Passion, part of soul, 28, 169 

Paul, St., influence of Stoicism on, 
228 ; relation of, to Greek philo 
sophy, 244 

Pericles, friend of Anaxagoras, 52 ; 
and of Protagoras, 86 

Peripatetics, origin of name, 174 

Personality, absence of, in Greek 
thought, 40 

Persuasion, only true wisdom, 88 

Phaedo, quoted from, 54 ; dialogue, 

Phaedrus, dialogue, 142 

Phenomena, not source of abstract 
ideas, 15 

Philebus, dialogue, 156 

Philosophy, different from science, 
9 ; does not forbid inconsistency, 
64 ; a form of poesy or fiction, 
66 ; at the basis of religion, art, 
and morals, 67 ; great philoso 
phies never die, 68 ; first sys 
tematically divided by Democri 
tus, 75 ; relation to politics, 82, 
97 ; paradox of, 100 ; crisis of, 
ib. ; of nature and of moral, 
101 ; a means of social culture, 
125; relation of Love to, 137; 
must rule on earth, 149 ; only 
makes happy guesses in science, 
152; origin of, 178; investigates 



first causes, 179; crux in, 190; 
Epicurus definition of, 214 ; a 
search for chief good, 229 

Plato, criticism of Protagoras, 89 ; 
a complete Socratic, 103 : took 
refuge with Euclides, 132, 134; 
compared to Shakespeare, 134 ; 
as psychologist, 155; central 
doctrines of, 155 ; dogma im 
possible, 162 ; Aristotle on, 
163; relation to Heraclitus, ib, ; 
and to the Eleatics, 165 ; rela 
tion of Aristotle to, 178, 181 ; 
his mistake as to universals, 

Pleasure, end of life, 126 ; con 
tempt of, 131 ; reason gives law 
to, 149; is it chief good? 156; 
Epicurean theory of, 222 ; moral 
function of, 238 

Politics, relation to philosophy, 82, 
97 ; influence of sophistry upon, 

Politicus, see Statesman 
Potentiality (Dynamic idea), how 
used by Aristotle, 185 ; of feel 
ing* J 95 5 equals matter, 203 
Practicality, v. Idealism, 4 
Predication, Epicurus view of, 215 
Propositions, v. Things, 189 
Protagoras, 85 ; Plato s criticism of, 

89; dialogue, 136 
Protoplasm, explains nothing, 37 
Punishment, Sophistic theory of, 


Pyrrho, founder of Scepticism, 21 1 
Pythagoras, 23 

QUINT A ESSENTIA, origin of, 202 
Quixote, the world admires, 227 

REALISATION (Actuality), corre 
lative of potentiality, 185 ; re 
lation to Plato s Recollection, 
1 88 ; chief good, 194 

Reality, standard of, 40, 51 ; dis 
tinction between, and appearance, 
abolished, 83, 87 ; no necessary 
relation between thought and 

reality, 94; the only reality 
appetite, 96; thoughts of God 
the only reality, 164 ; approxi 
mations to, 165 ; ideal can never 
wholly fit, 239 

Reason, function of, 37, 56 ; cor 
rector of the senses, 61 ; governs 
evolution, 70 ; worse made to 
appear better, 84 ; realises itself 
through individuals, 114; gives 
law to pleasure, 149, 156 ; man 
possesses, 191 ; actual and latent, 
192 ; partly obedient, partly 
contemplative, 194 ; an element 
in Habit, 195 ; an impersonal 
ruler, 196 

Recollection (or Reminiscence), de 
parture and renewal of know 
ledge, 138 ; doctrine of, in Plato, 
142 ; Platonic criticism of, 154 ; 
nature of, 165 ; relation of 
Aristotle s theory to, 1 88 
Reminiscence, see Recollection 
Republic, dialogue, 146 ; relation 

of, to Aristotle s doctrine, 192 
Revelation, how criticise? 158 
Right, Might without, is weak, 

SAMOS, birthplace of Pythagoras, 
23 ; of Melissus, 46 ; of Epicurus, 


Scepticism, its isolating influence, 
94 ; destroys not appetite, but 
moral restraint, 95 ; represented 
birth of new conditions, 98 ; 
phase of decay in distinctively 
Greek life, 211 

Science, philosophy different from, 
9; happy guesses in, 152; 
different kinds of, 1 80 ; can 
never exhaust object, 188 

Scrip and staff, emblems of Cynics, 

Semitic elements in later Greek 
philosophy, 228 

Seneca, on Epicurus, 225 ; expon 
ent of Roman Stoicism, 242 

Senses (or Sensation), channel for the 



eternal wisdom, 18 ; data of, no 
measure of reality, 40 ; not source 
of ideas, 45 ; untrustworthy, 49 ; 
necessary to truth, 56 ; no test of 
truth, 60 ; relation to reason, 61 ; 
based on composite character of 
body, 71 ; atomic theory of, 79 ; 
give no absolute truth, 80 ; 
no distinction between, and 
thing or mind, 87 ; reaction of 
moral theory on theory of sensa 
tion, 102 ; invalid as against 
reason, 133 ; has rational ele 
ments conditioning, 151 ; uni 
versal cannot belong to, 163 ; 
universals furthest removed 
from, 1 80 ; only source of know 
ledge, 214 ; Epicurean theory of 
emission, 221 ; Stoic theory, 230 
Shakespeare, Plato compared to, 


Sicily, birthplace of Empedocles, 
58 ; connection with rise of 
Sophistry, 84, 86, 92 ; connection 
of Plato with, 135 

Sin, willing and unwilling, 12 1 

Sinope, birthplace of Diogenes, 

Sleep, cuts us off from eternal 
wisdom, 1 8 

Socrates, 101 ; relation to Anaxa- 
goras, 54; his doctrine in general, 
100 ; marks a parting of ways, 
103 ; warning voice or dae 
mon of, 104 ; philosophic mid 
wifery, ib. ; irony, 105 ; not an 
expositor, 115; relation to 
Sophists, ib. ; Aristippus student 
of, 124 ; criticises Antisthenes, 
129 ; Plato pupil of, 134 ; 
dialogue concerning, 136 ; con 
versation of Diotima with, 137 ; 
in Republic, 146 

Socratics, complete and incomplete, 
103; incomplete, 125, 128 

Solon,^ Plato descended from, 134 ; 
praised, 140 

Sophists, 82 ; name first used by 
Protagoras, 85 ; influence of, on 

politics, 88, 97 ; refuted by the 
arts, in ; relation to Socrates, 
115; Platonic dialogues on, 136 ; 
dialogue so named, 159 

Soul of all things, 6 ; a fiery ex 
halation, 18; God soul of the 
world, 27 ; soul realised in body, 
ib. ; soul double, 28 ; triple, 28, 
169 ; life of soul a harmony, 29 ; 
composed of finest atoms, 78 ; 
even that of universe, 80 ; loss 
of one s soul, 150; world-soul 
the first creation, 151 ; divisions 
of, 169 ; an entelechy, 203 ; 
definition of, 204 ; v. body, 205 ; 
Epicurean theory of, 220 

Space, existence prior to, 37, 167 ; 
unthinkable except with refer 
ence to body, 75 

Sparta, ideas from, in Republic, 
148 ; influence on Plato s Laws, 
1 60 

Species, has more of existence than 
genus, 183 

Speusippus, successor of Plato, 1 72 

Stagira, birthplace of Aristotle, 

State, Justice writ large in, 147 ; 
classes in, 169 ; an entelechy, 

Statesman (or Politicus), dialogue, 


Stoicism, Semitic element in, 228 ; 

origin of name, 229 
Strife, original of things, 17 ; one 

of two principles, 38, 63 
Substance defined, 203 
Siilla, brought Aristotle s library to 

Rome, 176 
Summum bonum, what? 156; 

relation of man s perfection, 168; 

philosophy search for, 229 
Symposium, dialogue, 137 

TABULA RASA, Stoic theory of, 231 
Tarsus, birthplace of St. Paul 

and (possibly) of Chrysippus, 

Temperance, treated of in Char- 



mides, 136 ; fairest sort of 
wisdom, 139 

Thales, 2 

Theaetetus, quoted from, 89 ; dia 
logue, 159 

Theophrastus, successor of Aristotle, 

Things, in themselves, how 
known? 158; partake in the 
idea, 164 ; v. Propositions, 189 

Thought, of God, 1 50 ; ideal ele 
ments in, 152; of God, source 
of reality, 164 ; relation to 
matter, 184; of God, eternally 
existing in ideas, 187 ; an 
entelechy, 188 ; without desire, 
no motive, 191 ; arms of, 198 ; 
only converted sensation, 223 

Thucydides, quoted, 97 

Thurii, code for, drawn up by 
Protagoras, 86 

Timaeus, dialogue, 150 

Time, brings its revenges, 8 ; plays 
with the dice, 20 ; existence 
prior to, 37, 168 

Tortoise, see Achilles 

Transmigration of souls, 27, 73 

Truth, first duty of man, 29 ; 
senses give no absolute, 80 ; 
title of work by Protagoras, 86 ; 
man measure of, 87 ; abstract 
truth impossible, ib. ; dialogue 
concerning, 137 

Tyranny, in politics and in philo 
sophy, 83 

ULTIMATELY, significance of word, 

Unity, v. Multiplicity, 28 ; of 
objects only apparent, 76 ; no 
absolute unity either of body or 
soul, 138; analysis of, 159; in 
thoughts of God, 164 

Universal, v. Particular, 48 ; v. 
Individual, 99 ; search after lost, 
105, 163 ; three forms, Justice, 
Beauty, Utility, no; cannot 
belong to sense, 163 ; know 
ledge of, function of philosophy, 

1 80; does not exist apart from 

particulars, 181 ; has less of 

existence than particulars, 183 ; 

they are not antithetical, 189 
Universe, the self-picturing of God, 

27 ; mechanical theory of, 56 ; 

ideal working in, 112 ; origin of, 

151, 165, 200, 216, 232 
Utility, relation to Justice, 1 20; 

philosophy does not seek, 178 

VIRTUE, teachable through per 
suasion, 88; is knowledge, 112, 
118 ; teachable through training, 
131 ; sufficient for happiness, 
ib. ; teachableness of, 136, 191 ; 
immortal product of soul, 139; 
a habit, 195 ; a mean, ib. ; 
Reason standard of, 196 ; alone 
absolutely good, 238 

Void, existence of, 75 ; proofs of, 

WA TER, beginning of things, 4 

Weeping philosopher, 20; v. laugh 
ing philosopher, 74 

Wisdom, persuasion only true, 88 ; 
moderate indulgence, 126; a 
weaning of soul from pleasure, 
131 ; temperance and justice 
the fairest, 139 ; heavenly and 
earthly, 148; Is it chief good? 
156; Divine wisdom governor, 
157 > Aristotle s definition of, 180 

Wise man, personification of reason, 

Withdrawal, Stoic name for suicide, 

World, a living creature, 27 ; why 
did God make? 190 

XENOCRATES, academic philoso 
pher, 172 

Xenophanes, 31, 48 
Xenophon, quoted, 116 
Xerxes, invasion of, 52 

ZENO, the Eleatic, 42 ; the Stoic, 

- JUL281958 


University of Toronto 








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