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ther remark a decline of style, and of dramatic power; the characters excite little or no interest, and the digressions are apt to overlay the main thesis; by
there is not the ‘callida junctura’ of an artistic whole.
Both the serious discussions and the jests are some-Plato
times out of place. The invincible Socrates is with-drawn from view; and new foes begin to appear Translated by Benjamin Jowett under old names. Plato is now chiefly concerned, not with the original Sophist, but with the soph-istry of the schools of philosophy, which are making reasoning impossible; and is driven by them out INTRODUCTION AND ANALYSIS
of the regions of transcendental speculation back into the path of common sense. A logical or psy-IN THE PHAEDRUS, the Republic, the Philebus, the chological phase takes the place of the doctrine of Parmenides, and the Sophist, we may observe the Ideas in his mind. He is constantly dwelling on the tendency of Plato to combine two or more subjects importance of regular classification, and of not put-or different aspects of the same subject in a single ting words in the place of things. He has banished dialogue. In the Sophist and Statesman especially the poets, and is beginning to use a technical lan-we note that the discussion is partly regarded as an guage. He is bitter and satirical, and seems to be illustration of method, and that analogies are sadly conscious of the realities of human life. Yet brought from afar which throw light on the main the ideal glory of the Platonic philosophy is not subject. And in his later writings generally we fur-3
extinguished. He is still looking for a city in which to be his way of drawing attention to common dia-kings are either philosophers or gods (compare lectical errors. The Eleatic stranger, here, as in the Laws).
Sophist, has no appropriate character, and appears The Statesman has lost the grace and beauty of only as the expositor of a political ideal, in the de-the earlier dialogues. The mind of the writer seems lineation of which he is frequently interrupted by to be so overpowered in the effort of thought as to purely logical illustrations. The younger Socrates impair his style; at least his gift of expression does resembles his namesake in nothing but a name. The not keep up with the increasing difficulty of his dramatic character is so completely forgotten, that theme. The idea of the king or statesman and the a special reference is twice made to discussions in illustration of method are connected, not like the the Sophist; and this, perhaps, is the strongest love and rhetoric of the Phaedrus, by ‘little invis-ground which can be urged for doubting the genuible pegs,’ but in a confused and inartistic manner, ineness of the work. But, when we remember that a which fails to produce any impression of a whole similar allusion is made in the Laws to the Repub-on the mind of the reader. Plato apologizes for his lic, we see that the entire disregard of dramatic pro-tediousness, and acknowledges that the improve-priety is not always a sufficient reason for doubting ment of his audience has been his only aim in some the genuineness of a Platonic writing.
of his digressions. His own image may be used as a The search after the Statesman, which is carried motto of his style: like an inexpert statuary he has on, like that for the Sophist, by the method of di-made the figure or outline too large, and is unable chotomy, gives an opportunity for many humorous to give the proper colours or proportions to his work.
and satirical remarks. Several of the jests are man-He makes mistakes only to correct them—this seems nered and laboured: for example, the turn of words 4
with which the dialogue opens; or the clumsy joke vants; or the imposing attitude of the priests, who about man being an animal, who has a power of are the established interpreters of the will of heaven, two-feet—both which are suggested by the presence authorized by law. Nothing is more bitter in all his of Theodorus, the geometrician. There is political writings than his comparison of the contemporary as well as logical insight in refusing to admit the politicians to lions, centaurs, satyrs, and other ani-division of mankind into Hellenes and Barbarians: mals of a feebler sort, who are ever changing their
‘if a crane could speak, he would in like manner forms and natures. But, as in the later dialogues oppose men and all other animals to cranes.’ The generally, the play of humour and the charm of po-pride of the Hellene is further humbled, by being etry have departed, never to return.
compared to a Phrygian or Lydian. Plato glories in Still the Politicus contains a higher and more ideal this impartiality of the dialectical method, which conception of politics than any other of Plato’s places birds in juxtaposition with men, and the king writings. The city of which there is a pattern in side by side with the bird-catcher; king or vermin-heaven (Republic), is here described as a Paradisia-destroyer are objects of equal interest to science cal state of human society. In the truest sense of all, (compare Parmen.). There are other passages which the ruler is not man but God; and such a govern-show that the irony of Socrates was a lesson which ment existed in a former cycle of human history, Plato was not slow in learning—as, for example, the and may again exist when the gods resume their passing remark, that ‘the kings and statesmen of care of mankind. In a secondary sense, the true form our day are in their breeding and education very of government is that which has scientific rulers, like their subjects;’ or the anticipation that the ri-who are irresponsible to their subjects. Not power vals of the king will be found in the class of ser-but knowledge is the characteristic of a king or royal 5
person. And the rule of a man is better and higher also because the discussion of them is perpetually than law, because he is more able to deal with the crossed by the other interest of dialectic, which has infinite complexity of human affairs. But mankind, begun to absorb him.
in despair of finding a true ruler, are willing to ac-The plan of the Politicus or Statesman may be quiesce in any law or custom which will save them briefly sketched as follows: (1) By a process of divi-from the caprice of individuals. They are ready to sion and subdivision we discover the true herdsman accept any of the six forms of government which or king of men. But before we can rightly distinguish prevail in the world. To the Greek, nomos was a him from his rivals, we must view him, (2) as he is sacred word, but the political idealism of Plato soars presented to us in a famous ancient tale: the tale will into a region beyond; for the laws he would substi-also enable us to distinguish the divine from the tute the intelligent will of the legislator. Education human herdsman or shepherd: (3) and besides our is originally to implant in men’s minds a sense of fable, we must have an example; for our example truth and justice, which is the divine bond of states, we will select the art of weaving, which will have to and the legislator is to contrive human bonds, by be distinguished from the kindred arts; and then, which dissimilar natures may be united in marriage following this pattern, we will separate the king from and supply the deficiencies of one another. As in his subordinates or competitors. (4) But are we not the Republic, the government of philosophers, the exceeding all due limits; and is there not a measure causes of the perversion of states, the regulation of of all arts and sciences, to which the art of discourse marriages, are still the political problems with which must conform? There is; but before we can apply Plato’s mind is occupied. He treats them more this measure, we must know what is the aim of dis-slightly, partly because the dialogue is shorter, and course: and our discourse only aims at the dialecti-6
cal improvement of ourselves and others.—Having THEODORUS: And you will have three times as made our apology, we return once more to the king much reason to thank me when they have delin-or statesman, and proceed to contrast him with pre-eated the Statesman and Philosopher, as well as the tenders in the same line with him, under their vari-Sophist.
ous forms of government. (5) His characteristic is, that he alone has science, which is superior to law SOCRATES: Does the great geometrician apply the and written enactments; these do but spring out of same measure to all three? Are they not divided by the necessities of mankind, when they are in de-an interval which no geometrical ratio can express?
spair of finding the true king. (6) The sciences which are most akin to the royal are the sciences of the THEODORUS: By the god Ammon, Socrates, you general, the judge, the orator, which minister to him, are right; and I am glad to see that you have not but even these are subordinate to him. (7) Fixed forgotten your geometry. But before I retaliate on principles are implanted by education, and the king you, I must request the Stranger to finish the argu-or statesman completes the political web by marry-ment…
ing together dissimilar natures, the courageous and the temperate, the bold and the gentle, who are the The Stranger suggests that Theaetetus shall be al-warp and the woof of society.
lowed to rest, and that Socrates the younger shall The outline may be filled up as follows:—
respond in his place; Theodorus agrees to the suggestion, and Socrates remarks that the name of the SOCRATES: I have reason to thank you, Theodorus, one and the face of the other give him a right to for the acquaintance of Theaetetus and the Stranger.
claim relationship with both of them. They pro-7
pose to take the Statesman after the Sophist; his edge rather than to action. For a king rules with his path they must determine, and part off all other mind, and not with his hands.
ways, stamping upon them a single negative form But theoretical science may be a science either of (compare Soph.).
judging, like arithmetic, or of ruling and superin-The Stranger begins the enquiry by making a di-tending, like that of the architect or master-builder.
vision of the arts and sciences into theoretical and And the science of the king is of the latter nature; practical—the one kind concerned with knowledge but the power which he exercises is underived and exclusively, and the other with action; arithmetic uncontrolled,—a characteristic which distinguishes and the mathematical sciences are examples of the him from heralds, prophets, and other inferior of-former, and carpentering and handicraft arts of the ficers. He is the wholesale dealer in command, and latter (compare Philebus). Under which of the two the herald, or other officer, retails his commands to shall we place the Statesman? Or rather, shall we others. Again, a ruler is concerned with the produc-not first ask, whether the king, statesman, master, tion of some object, and objects may be divided householder, practise one art or many? As the ad-into living and lifeless, and rulers into the rulers of viser of a physician may be said to have medical living and lifeless objects. And the king is not like science and to be a physician, so the adviser of a the master-builder, concerned with lifeless matter, king has royal science and is a king. And the master but has the task of managing living animals. And of a large household may be compared to the ruler the tending of living animals may be either a tend-of a small state. Hence we conclude that the sci-ing of individuals, or a managing of herds. And the ence of the king, statesman, and householder is one Statesman is not a groom, but a herdsman, and his and the same. And this science is akin to knowl-art may be called either the art of managing a herd, 8
or the art of collective management:—Which do ond of which you comprehended under the general you prefer? ‘No matter.’ Very good, Socrates, and if name of beasts. This is the sort of division which you are not too particular about words you will be an intelligent crane would make: he would put all the richer some day in true wisdom. But how cranes into a class by themselves for their special would you subdivide the herdsman’s art? ‘I should glory, and jumble together all others, including man, say, that there is one management of men, and an-in the class of beasts. An error of this kind can only other of beasts.’ Very good, but you are in too great be avoided by a more regular subdivision. Just now a hurry to get to man. All divisions which are rightly we divided the whole class of animals into gregari-made should cut through the middle; if you attend ous and non-gregarious, omitting the previous divi-to this rule, you will be more likely to arrive at sion into tame and wild. We forgot this in our hurry classes. ‘I do not understand the nature of my mis-to arrive at man, and found by experience, as the take.’ Your division was like a division of the hu-proverb says, that ‘the more haste the worse speed.’
man race into Hellenes and Barbarians, or into And now let us begin again at the art of managing Lydians or Phrygians and all other nations, instead herds. You have probably heard of the fish-preserves of into male and female; or like a division of num-in the Nile and in the ponds of the Great King, and ber into ten thousand and all other numbers, in-of the nurseries of geese and cranes in Thessaly.
stead of into odd and even. And I should like you These suggest a new division into the rearing or to observe further, that though I maintain a class to management of land-herds and of water-herds:— I be a part, there is no similar necessity for a part to need not say with which the king is concerned. And be a class. But to return to your division, you spoke land-herds may be divided into walking and flying; of men and other animals as two classes—the sec-and every idiot knows that the political animal is a 9
pedestrian. At this point we may take a longer or a ing species. Men and birds are both bipeds, and shorter road, and as we are already near the end, I human beings are running a race with the airiest see no harm in taking the longer, which is the way and freest of creation, in which they are far behind of mesotomy, and accords with the principle which their competitors;—this is a great joke, and there is we were laying down. The tame, walking, herding a still better in the juxtaposition of the bird-taker animal, may be divided into two classes—the horned and the king, who may be seen scampering after and the hornless, and the king is concerned with them. For, as we remarked in discussing the Soph-the hornless; and these again may be subdivided ist, the dialectical method is no respecter of per-into animals having or not having cloven feet, or sons. But we might have proceeded, as I was say-mixing or not mixing the breed; and the king or ing, by another and a shorter road. In that case we statesman has the care of animals which have not should have begun by dividing land animals into cloven feet, and which do not mix the breed. And bipeds and quadrupeds, and bipeds into winged and now, if we omit dogs, who can hardly be said to wingless; we should than have taken the Statesman herd, I think that we have only two species left which and set him over the ‘bipes implume,’ and put the remain undivided: and how are we to distinguish reins of government into his hands.
them? To geometricians, like you and Theaetetus, I Here let us sum up:—The science of pure knowl-can have no difficulty in explaining that man is a edge had a part which was the science of command, diameter, having a power of two feet; and the power and this had a part which was a science of whole-of four-legged creatures, being the double of two sale command; and this was divided into the man-feet, is the diameter of our diameter. There is anagement of animals, and was again parted off into other excellent jest which I spy in the two remain-the management of herds of animals, and again of 10
land animals, and these into hornless, and these their motion, as a witness to the right of Atreus.
into bipeds; and so at last we arrived at man, and
‘There is such a story.’ And no doubt you have heard found the political and royal science. And yet we of the empire of Cronos, and of the earthborn men?
have not clearly distinguished the political shep-The origin of these and the like stories is to be found herd from his rivals. No one would think of usurp-in the tale which I am about to narrate.
ing the prerogatives of the ordinary shepherd, who There was a time when God directed the revolu-on all hands is admitted to be the trainer, match-tions of the world, but at the completion of a cer-maker, doctor, musician of his flock. But the royal tain cycle he let go; and the world, by a necessity of shepherd has numberless competitors, from whom its nature, turned back, and went round the other he must be distinguished; there are merchants, hus-way. For divine things alone are unchangeable; but bandmen, physicians, who will all dispute his right the earth and heavens, although endowed with to manage the flock. I think that we can best dis-many glories, have a body, and are therefore liable tinguish him by having recourse to a famous old to perturbation. In the case of the world, the per-tradition, which may amuse as well as instruct us; turbation is very slight, and amounts only to a re-the narrative is perfectly true, although the scepti-versal of motion. For the lord of moving things is cism of mankind is prone to doubt the tales of old.
alone self-moved; neither can piety allow that he You have heard what happened in the quarrel of goes at one time in one direction and at another Atreus and Thyestes? ‘You mean about the golden time in another; or that God has given the universe lamb?’ No, not that; but another part of the story, opposite motions; or that there are two gods, one which tells how the sun and stars once arose in the turning it in one direction, another in another. But west and set in the east, and that the god reversed the truth is, that there are two cycles of the world, 11
and in one of them it is governed by an immediate change and disappeared. In that cycle of existence Providence, and receives life and immortality, and there was no such thing as the procreation of ani-in the other is let go again, and has a reverse action mals from one another, but they were born of the during infinite ages. This new action is spontane-earth, and of this our ancestors, who came into be-ous, and is due to exquisite perfection of balance, ing immediately after the end of the last cycle and to the vast size of the universe, and to the small-at the beginning of this, have preserved the recol-ness of the pivot upon which it turns. All changes lection. Such traditions are often now unduly dis-in the heaven affect the animal world, and this be-credited, and yet they may be proved by internal ing the greatest of them, is most destructive to men evidence. For observe how consistent the narrative and animals. At the beginning of the cycle before is; as the old returned to youth, so the dead re-our own very few of them had survived; and on turned to life; the wheel of their existence having these a mighty change passed. For their life was re-been reversed, they rose again from the earth: a few versed like the motion of the world, and first of all only were reserved by God for another destiny. Such coming to a stand then quickly returned to youth was the origin of the earthborn men.
and beauty. The white locks of the aged became
‘And is this cycle, of which you are speaking, the black; the cheeks of the bearded man were restored reign of Cronos, or our present state of existence?’
to their youth and fineness; the young men grew No, Socrates, that blessed and spontaneous life softer and smaller, and, being reduced to the condi-belongs not to this, but to the previous state, in tion of children in mind as well as body, began to which God was the governor of the whole world, vanish away; and the bodies of those who had died and other gods subject to him ruled over parts of by violence, in a few moments underwent a parallel the world, as is still the case in certain places. They 12
were shepherds of men and animals, each of them gathering from every nature some addition to their sufficing for those of whom he had the care. And store of knowledge;—or again, if they had merely there was no violence among them, or war, or de-eaten and drunk, and told stories to one another, vouring of one another. Their life was spontaneous, and to the beasts;—in either case, I say, there would because in those days God ruled over man; and he be no difficulty in answering the question. But as was to man what man is now to the animals. Under nobody knows which they did, the question must his government there were no estates, or private pos-remain unanswered. And here is the point of my sessions, or families; but the earth produced a suffi-tale. In the fulness of time, when the earthborn men ciency of all things, and men were born out of the had all passed away, the ruler of the universe let go earth, having no traditions of the past; and as the the helm, and became a spectator; and destiny and temperature of the seasons was mild, they took no natural impulse swayed the world. At the same in-thought for raiment, and had no beds, but lived stant all the inferior deities gave up their hold; the and dwelt in the open air.
whole universe rebounded, and there was a great Such was the age of Cronos, and the age of Zeus earthquake, and utter ruin of all manner of animals.
is our own. Tell me, which is the happier of the After a while the tumult ceased, and the universal two? Or rather, shall I tell you that the happiness creature settled down in his accustomed course, of these children of Cronos must have depended having authority over all other creatures, and fol-on how they used their time? If having boundless lowing the instructions of his God and Father, at leisure, and the power of discoursing not only with first more precisely, afterwards with less exactness.
one another but with the animals, they had em-The reason of the falling off was the disengagement ployed these advantages with a view to philosophy, of a former chaos; ‘a muddy vesture of decay’ was a 13
part of his original nature, out of which he was struggle for existence without arts or knowledge, brought by his Creator, under whose immediate and had no food, and did not know how to get any.
guidance, while he remained in that former cycle, That was the time when Prometheus brought them the evil was minimized and the good increased to fire, Hephaestus and Athene taught them arts, and the utmost. And in the beginning of the new cycle other gods gave them seeds and plants. Out of these all was well enough, but as time went on, discord human life was framed; for mankind were left to entered in; at length the good was minimized and themselves, and ordered their own ways, living, like the evil everywhere diffused, and there was a dan-the universe, in one cycle after one manner, and in ger of universal ruin. Then the Creator, seeing the another cycle after another manner.
world in great straits, and fearing that chaos and Enough of the myth, which may show us two er-infinity would come again, in his tender care again rors of which we were guilty in our account of the placed himself at the helm and restored order, and king. The first and grand error was in choosing for made the world immortal and imperishable. Once our king a god, who belongs to the other cycle, in-more the cycle of life and generation was reversed; stead of a man from our own; there was a lesser the infants grew into young men, and the young error also in our failure to define the nature of the men became greyheaded; no longer did the animals royal functions. The myth gave us only the image spring out of the earth; as the whole world was now of a divine shepherd, whereas the statesmen and lord of its own progress, so the parts were to be self-kings of our own day very much resemble their sub-created and self-nourished. At first the case of men jects in education and breeding. On retracing our was very helpless and pitiable; for they were alone steps we find that we gave too narrow a designa-among the wild beasts, and had to carry on the tion to the art which was concerned with command-14
for-self over living creatures, when we called it the what, Stranger, is the deficiency of which you
‘feeding’ of animals in flocks. This would apply to speak?’ No higher truth can be made clear without all shepherds, with the exception of the Statesman; an example; every man seems to know all things in but if we say ‘managing’ or ‘tending’ animals, the a dream, and to know nothing when he is awake.
term would include him as well. Having remodelled And the nature of example can only be illustrated the name, we may subdivide as before, first sepa-by an example. Children are taught to read by be-rating the human from the divine shepherd or man-ing made to compare cases in which they do not ager. Then we may subdivide the human art of gov-know a certain letter with cases in which they know erning into the government of willing and unwill-it, until they learn to recognize it in all its combina-ing subjects—royalty and tyranny—which are the tions. Example comes into use when we identify extreme opposites of one another, although we in something unknown with that which is known, and our simplicity have hitherto confounded them.
form a common notion of both of them. Like the And yet the figure of the king is still defective.
child who is learning his letters, the soul recognizes We have taken up a lump of fable, and have used some of the first elements of things; and then again more than we needed. Like statuaries, we have made is at fault and unable to recognize them when they some of the features out of proportion, and shall are translated into the difficult language of facts.
lose time in reducing them. Or our mythus may be Let us, then, take an example, which will illustrate compared to a picture, which is well drawn in out-the nature of example, and will also assist us in char-line, but is not yet enlivened by colour. And to in-acterizing the political science, and in separating telligent persons language is, or ought to be, a bet-the true king from his rivals.
ter instrument of description than any picture. ‘But I will select the example of weaving, or, more pre-15
cisely, weaving of wool. In the first place, all posses-carding. And the art of carding, and the whole art sions are either productive or preventive; of the pre-of the fuller and the mender, are concerned with ventive sort are spells and antidotes, divine and the treatment and production of clothes, as well as human, and also defences, and defences are either the art of weaving. Again, there are the arts which arms or screens, and screens are veils and also shields make the weaver’s tools. And if we say that the against heat and cold, and shields against heat and weaver’s art is the greatest and noblest of those cold are shelters and coverings, and coverings are which have to do with woollen garments,—this, al-blankets or garments, and garments are in one piece though true, is not sufficiently distinct; because or have many parts; and of these latter, some are these other arts require to be first cleared away. Let stitched and others are fastened, and of these again us proceed, then, by regular steps: —There are causal some are made of fibres of plants and some of hair, or principal, and co-operative or subordinate arts.
and of these some are cemented with water and To the causal class belong the arts of washing and earth, and some are fastened with their own mate-mending, of carding and spinning the threads, and rial; the latter are called clothes, and are made by the other arts of working in wool; these are chiefly the art of clothing, from which the art of weaving of two kinds, falling under the two great categories differs only in name, as the political differs from of composition and division. Carding is of the lat-the royal science. Thus we have drawn several dister sort. But our concern is chiefly with that part of tinctions, but as yet have not distinguished the the art of wool-working which composes, and of weaving of garments from the kindred and co-op-which one kind twists and the other interlaces the erative arts. For the first process to which the mate-threads, whether the firmer texture of the warp or rial is subjected is the opposite of weaving—I mean the looser texture of the woof. These are adapted to 16
each other, and the orderly composition of them ing which we proved in our discussion about the forms a woollen garment. And the art which pre-Sophist. At present I am content with the indirect sides over these operations is the art of weaving.
proof that the existence of such a standard is neces-But why did we go through this circuitous pro-sary to the existence of the arts. The standard or cess, instead of saying at once that weaving is the measure, which we are now only applying to the art of entwining the warp and the woof? In order arts, may be some day required with a view to the that our labour may not seem to be lost, I must demonstration of absolute truth.
explain the whole nature of excess and defect. There We may now divide this art of measurement into are two arts of measuring—one is concerned with two parts; placing in the one part all the arts which relative size, and the other has reference to a mean measure the relative size or number of objects, and or standard of what is meet. The difference between in the other all those which depend upon a mean good and evil is the difference between a mean or or standard. Many accomplished men say that the measure and excess or defect. All things require to art of measurement has to do with all things, but be compared, not only with one another, but with these persons, although in this notion of theirs they the mean, without which there would be no beauty may very likely be right, are apt to fail in seeing the and no art, whether the art of the statesman or the differences of classes—they jumble together in one art of weaving or any other; for all the arts guard the ‘more’ and the ‘too much,’ which are very dif-against excess or defect, which are real evils. This ferent things. Whereas the right way is to find the we must endeavour to show, if the arts are to exist; differences of classes, and to comprehend the things and the proof of this will be a harder piece of work which have any affinity under the same class.
than the demonstration of the existence of not-be-I will make one more observation by the way.