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doing, whether all or none shall know it.' Fr. 107, “Those only are dear to God, who hate injustice.' Fr. 109, 'It is the motive, not the outward act, which proves a man just'.' Fr. 116, “Sin is caused by ignorance of the better course.' Fr. 132, 'Education is an ornament in prosperity, a refuge in adversity. Fr. 138, ‘Adversity is the only teacher of fools.' Fr. 142, 'Do not seek to know all things, or you will be ignorant of all things.' Fr. 149, "To bear injury meekly is the part of magnanimity,' Fr. 161, "He who loves none will be loved by none.' Fr. 245, 'He whom all fear, fears all.' Fr. 224, ‘The doer of injustice is more miserable than the sufferer.' Fr. 225, “The whole world is the fatherland of the good.' Fr. 238, ‘Different men have different pleasures, but goodness and truth are reverenced alike by all
Fr. Phys. I and 5, ‘The objects of sense are not what they are supposed to be: Atoms and Void alone have real existence. There are two kinds of judgment, the genuine and the obscure: the obscure is that of sight, hearing, feeling and the rest; the genuine is distinct (arrokekpquérn) from all of these. Truth lies at the bottom of a well (év Buom).'
Democritus closes the series of the pre-Socratic dogmatists, men who devoted themselves to the investigation of Nature as a whole, believing that the investigation would lead to the discovery of the truth. Between these and Socrates, the great regenerator of philosophy, is interposed the sceptical or Sophistic era. That the latter was a natural and necessary stage in the development of Greek thought will be apparent from the following considerations :
1 'Aγαθόν ου το μη αδικέειν, αλλά το μηδέ εθέλειν.
2 'Ανθρώποισι πάσι σεβαστά έστι το αγαθόν και αληθές· ηδυ δε άλλο άλλο.
What we are told about Pythagoras and his disciples must have been more or less true of all the early philosophers. The sage, no less than the poet, believed himself the organ of a special inspiration, which, in the case of the former, revealed to him the inner truth of nature; those who were worthy to receive the revelation listened with reverence to his teaching, and rested their faith implicitly on their master's authority. But when different schools sprang up, each asserting their own doctrines with equal positiveness; when the increase of intercommunication spread the knowledge of these contradictory systems throughout the Greek-speaking world; when philosophical questions began to be popularized by poets like Euripides, and discussed in the saloons of a Pericles or an Aspasia; when Zeno's criticisms had made clear to the public, what had been an esoteric truth to the hearers of Parmenides and Heraclitus, that not merely traditional beliefs, but even the evidence of the senses was incapable of standing against the reason of the philosophers,—the result of all this was a widespread scepticism either as to the existence of objective truth altogether (Protagoras), or as to the possibility of the attainment of physical truth by man (Socrates). If we remember at the same time the incredibly rapid development in every department of life which took place in Greece and especially in Athens during the 5th century B.C.; the sense, which must have forced itself on all the more thoughtful minds, of the incompetency of the old beliefs to explain the problems of the new age which was dawning upon them; and on the other hand the growing importance of oratory and the immense stimulus to ambition held out, in a state like Athens, to those who were of a more practical turn of mind,
-we shall not be surprised if there was much curiosity to learn the opinions of the most advanced thinkers, and much eagerness to acquire the argumentative power by which a Zeno could make the worse cause appear the better. The enlightened men who came forward to supply this demand called themselves by the name of Sophists, or professors of wisdom. They were the first who made a profession of the higher education, and some of them amassed considerable fortunes by their lectures on rhetoric, the art of speaking, which was also made to include instruction in regard to political and social life. The speculative interest of the older philosophers was in them changed into a predominantly practical interest, ist, as to how to acquire wealth and notoriety for themselves, and 2ndly, as a means to this, to attract by omniscient pretensions, by brilliant declamation and startling paradox, clever and ambitious young men of the richer classes; and then to secure their continued discipleship by careful training with a view to the attainment of political power'.
Protagoras of Abdera (B.C. 490—415) and Gorgias of Leontini in Sicily (B.C. 480-375) are the earliest of the so-called Sophists. Protagoras taught in Sicily and at Athens, from which latter place he was banished on a
1 The general features of the Sophistic period are photographed in the Clouds of Aristophanes, and in Thucydides' chapters on the Plague of Athens and the Corcyrean revolution, and his speeches generally.
charge of impiety in consequence of his treatise on Theology, in which he declared his inability to arrive at any conclusion as to the nature or even the very existence of the Gods'. His treatise on Truth began with the famous sentence, 'Man is the measure of all things;' meaning that truth is relative, not absolute, that what each man holds to be true is true to him; and similarly in regard to conduct, that it is impossible to pronounce universally that one kind of conduct is right, another wrong: right and wrong depend upon opinion; what is generally thought right is right generally; what each thinks right is right for him, just as each man's sensations are true for him, though perhaps not for another; there is therefore no more reason for one general assertion than for another, perhaps an opposite assertion. It is plain that this was a sort of conciliation-theory naturally springing from the fact of the opposition of philosophical schools: each of you are equally right relatively, equally wrong absolutely; there is no need for quarrel.' Protagoras also wrote on Grammar and Philology. Gorgias is said to have first come to Athens in B.C. 427, and afterwards to have travelled about giving lectures from town to town. He devoted himself mainly to the cultivation of rhetoric, but also wrote a treatise tepi púoews, in which he maintained ist 'that nothing exists' (i.e. doubtless in the absolute Eleatic sense'); and that, if anything did exist, still it could not be known; 3rd that, even if it could be known, the knowledge of it could not be communicated to others. Hippias of Elis and Prodicus of Ceos
1 περί μεν θεών ουκ έχω ειδέναι, ούθ' ώς εισίν ούθ' ώς ουκ εισίν: πολλά γάρ τα κωλύοντα ειδέναι, η τε άδηλότης και βραχύς ών ο βίος του ανθρώπου. Diog. L. ΙΧ. 51.
were some twenty years younger than Protagoras. The former was best known for his scientific attainments: he is said to have given utterance to the revolutionary sentiment of the age in the phrase, ‘Law is a tyrant over men, forcing them to do many things contrary to nature.' Prodicus is famed for his moral apologue on the Choice of Hercules narrated by Xenophon. He is reported to have considered the Gods of the popular religion to be merely deified utilities, Bacchus wine, Ceres
But the extreme effects of the disintegration of established beliefs were not seen in the teachers, but in some of their pupils who were less dependent on public opinion, young aristocrats who fretted under democratic rule, and were eager to take advantage of the disorganized state of society in order to grasp at power for themselves. Such was the Callicles of the Gorgias, such Critias and Alcibiades, both disciples of Socrates, of whom we have now to speak.
Socrates was born at Athens 470 B.C.; he was the son of Sophroniscus a sculptor, and Phaenarete a midwife. While sharing the general scepticism as to the possibility of arriving at certainty in regard to the Natural Philosophy which had formed the almost exclusive subject of earlier speculation, he maintained, in opposition to most of the popular teachers of his time, the certainty of moral distinctions, and laid down a method for the discovery of error on the one side, and the establishment of objective truth on the other. The main lines of his philosophy are given in three famous sentences: (1) that of Cicero, that he brought down philosophy from heaven