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nay, let us say, precisely because it abuses them, makes the mind conscious of its laws and causes it to analyze them, and so becomes the forerunner of the science of logic, the development of which constitutes the glory of Aristotle. Simultaneously with the science of thought, it creates the science of its inseparable outer shell, language, - grammar, syntax, or philology in the broadest sense of the term. By laying so much stress on form, and showing such care in the use of words, the Sophists rendered the Greek language more flexible, and fashioned it into the wonderful instrument of thought which we admire in the dialogues of Plato.

The error of Protagoras and the subjectivistic Sophists consists in their interpreting åv@pw os to mean, not man in general but the individual, not the human understanding but the understanding of each particular individual, and in assuming, in consequence, as many measures of the true and the false as there are individuals. Protagoras, like the majority of the Greek philosophers, exaggerates (1) the physiological and mental differences existing be tween individuals; (2) the illusions of sensation. He ignores the fact which science has since demonstrated, that the investigator may correct the data of the senses by means of each other, and his ignorance of this fact leads him to deny the existence of an objective criterion of truth. He fails to see that the human reason is essentially the same in all individuals. Men hinder him from seeing man.

It is this cardinal error in his philosophy which is rectified by Socrates.

§ 14. Socrates SOCRATES of Athens 1 (469_399), once a sculptor like his father; was attracted to philosophy by the teachings of the Sophists, and, like them, devoted his life to the instruction and education of the youth. The brillianey and spirituality of his conversation, which was Attic to a fault, the grandeur of his ideas, the boldness of his political paradoxes, everything about the man, except his outward form, was calculated to charm and attract. The martyrdom which he suffered only helped to raise the admiration of his many disciples to the highest pitch. Though ar. adversary of the Sophists, whose venality he condemned, he resembled them so much that he was mistaken for a Sophist. Like them, he expressed a contempt for metaphysics, natural science, which, he said, culminates in atheism, and mat'lematics, which, to his mind, consists of nothing but barren speculations. Like them and like the true Athenian that he was, he placed the study of the moral man and of the duties of the citizen in the very centre of education ; like them, finally, he rated the formal culture of the mind much more highly than material instruction, without calculating the effect of intellectual freedom on the religion and the constitution of the State. Hence, he was, not without some show of reason, identified with the Sophists, and the hatred of the conservative democracy in its turn destroyed him. Aristophanes opened the battle against the reformer. He ridiculed him in the Clouds and

1 Sources : Xenophon's Memorabilia and Symposium ; Plato, 4 pology, Phædo, Phædrus, Meno, The@telus, etc.; Aristotle, Met., I., 6 and

passim ; Cicero, Acad., I., 4, 15, and passim : Ritter and Preller, 192 ff.; Fréret, Observations sur les causes ile la condamnation de Socrate (an essay read in the year 1736, printed in the Mémoires de l'Académie des inscriptions, vol. 47 B, pp. 209 ff.); [Grote, History of Greece, vol. VIII., chap. 68; Köchly, Sokrates und sein Volk (Akademische Vorträge und Reden, I.), Zurich, 1839; Alberti, Sokrates, ein Versuch über ihn nach den Quellen, Göttingen, 1869; Chaignet, Vie de Socrate, Paris, 1868; [Antonio Labriola, La dottrina di Socrate, Naples, 1871; Siebeck, Ueber Sokrates' Verhältniss zur Sophistik (Untersuchungen zur Philosophie der Griechen, 1873; 2d ed., Freiburg i. B., 1888)]; Fouillée, La philosophie de Socrate, 2 vols., Paris, 1874. [Wildau.r, Sokrates Lehre vom Willen, Innsbruck, 1877. -- TR.]

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at the same time aroused suspicion against his religious and political views. After the fall of the Thirty Tyrants, Socrates was accused “ of not believing in the gods of the State, of proclaiming other gods, and of corrupting the youth,” and condemned to drink the hemlock (399).

Although Socrates left no writings, we have a better knowledge of him than of his predecessors. For this we are indebted to two of his enthusiastic pupils, Xenophon and Plato. Their accounts do not, by any means, agree with one another in all respects. The Socrates of the Memorabilia is a moral philosopher and an apostle of natural religion rather than a metaphysician; the Socrates of the Dialogues of Plato is a keen and profound thinker, the rival of Heraclitus, Parmenides, and Anaxagoras. The simplest explanation of the difference is as follows: Xenophon presents the teachings of the master according to his understanding of them ; while Plato, whose philosophical horizon is broader than that of Socrates, exaggerates the metaphysical import of his doctrine and uses Socrates as a mask for his own ideas. Happily we have, besides the very detailed but sometimes uncertain data of the two disciples, the opinion of Aristotle to guide us, and he cannot, to say the least, be accused of partiality:

The scepticism of Protagoras and the Sophists forms the starting-point of the philosophy of Socrates. All he knows is that he knows nothing; he is, furthermore, convinced that certainty is impossible in the case of physical science. However, though he is a sceptic in cosmology, his scepticism does not extend to the field of morals. He believes -- and this conviction of his forms a new and positive element in the philosophy of his times — he believes

that there is something in the universe that can be known,

1 Met., I., 6; XIII., 4. Top. I., 2. Eth. Nic., passim. [Cf. Klett, Sokrates nach den Xenophontischen Memorabilien, Canstatt 1893. Joël, Der echte und der Xenophontische Sokrates, Berlin, 1893. – TR.).

and known absolutely; this, as the words inscribed on the temple of Delphi: Know thyself, indicate, is man. We can never know exactly what is the nature of the world, its origin, and its end, but we can know what we ourselves ought to be, what is the meaning and aim of life, the highest good of the soul; and this knowledge alone is real and useful, because it is the only possible knowledge. Outside of ethics there can be no serious philosophy.

By making man the real object of science, Socrates evidently did not intend to create a scientific anthropology, or even to give us a psychology in the strict sense of the word. Man means for him the soul as the seat of moral ideas. He accepts no other science than ethics, of which Aristotle calls him the founder; but ethics is, in his opinion, a real, certain, and positive science resting on universal principles. Seemingly, indeed, Socrates does not get beyond the standpoint of Protagoras and his principle that man is the measure of all things. But the moral system of the great Sophist was not scientific, because it failed to recognize universal principles. By man as the measure of all things, Protagoras means the individual, and not human nature in general; he means the particular, accidental, changeable individual, and not the immutable and necessary moral element which is common to all. He did not believe in the existence of such a fundamental human nature. Moral ideas do not, in his opinion, possess obiective and absolute value; goodness, justice, and truth depend upon individual taste, which is the sole and final judge. There are, therefore, as many systems of ethics as individuals, which amounts to saying that there is none. The Sophists were deceived by the diversity of opinions, judgments, and feelings which they discovered among men. This diversity is but apparent and on the surface. The moral ideas lie concealed and slumbering, as it were, beneath individual prejudices. We have only to remove this superficial layer by means of education, in order to discover in all the same ideas and the same aspirations towards goodness, beauty, justice, and truth, .

Socrates' merit, therefore, consists in having attempted, at least in morals, to separate the general from the particular; in having advanced from the individual to the universal; in having again discovered, beneath the infinite variety of men, the one unchangeable man. Beneath the confused mass of opinions held by a demoralized century, he finds the true and immutable opinion, the conscience of the human race, the law of minds. Hence Socrates not only rendered a service to ethics, he benefited metaphysics as well. In the midst of intellectual anarchy, he teaches thought how to infer and define, and helps to put an end to the confusion of ideas by giving words their exact meaning. Thus, as long as there is no exact definition of the notion of God, a man has as much right to espouse atheism as theism: theism, if by God is meant the one indivisible Providence that governs the world ; atheism, if we mean those anthropomorphic beings with whom the Greek imagination peopled the Olympus. The main thing, therefore, is to come to some agreement as to the terms ; and to this end we must define them exactly, — an art in which Socrates excelled. He was, says Xenophon,3 untiring in his efforts to examine and define goodness and wickedness, justice and injustice, wisdom and folly, courage and cowardice, the State and the citizen. He did not offer his definitions to his hearers ready-made. He differed from the sensualist Protagoras in his conviction that moral ideas are fundamental to humanity, that every human mind is big with truth, that education creates nothing that is not already there, but merely awakens and develops the latent

1 The κοινός λόγος of Heraclitus.
• Aristotle, Met., I., 6; XIII., 4, 8–9, 35; Top., I., 12.
Mem., I., 1, 16.


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