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Sophist – Plato
physics will greatly prefer the earlier dialogues
to the later ones. Plato is conscious of the change,
and in the Statesman expressly accuses himself
of a tediousness in the two dialogues, which he
ascribes to his desire of developing the dialecti-
cal method. On the other hand, the kindred spirit
of Hegel seemed to find in the Sophist the crown
and summit of the Platonic philosophy—here is
the place at which Plato most nearly approaches
to the Hegelian identity of Being and Not-being.
Nor will the great importance of the two dia-
logues be doubted by any one who forms a con-
ception of the state of mind and opinion which
they are intended to meet. The sophisms of the
day were undermining philosophy; the denial of
the existence of Not-being, and of the connexion
of ideas, was making truth and falsehood equally
impossible. It has been said that Plato would have
written differently, if he had been acquainted
with the Organon of Aristotle. But could the Or-
ganon of Aristotle ever have been written un-
Translated by Benjamin Jowett
THE DRAMATIC POWER of the dialogues of Plato ap-
pears to diminish as the metaphysical interest
of them increases (compare Introd. to the
Philebus). There are no descriptions of time,
place or persons, in the Sophist and Statesman,
but we are plunged at once into philosophical
discussions; the poetical charm has disappeared,
and those who have no taste for abstruse meta-