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tentionally does not know his letters better than one who misspells without intending it; whether therefore he who intentionally commits an unjust action must not have a better knowledge of what is just than he who commits it unintentionally, and consequently be a juster man, since justice consists in the knowledge of what is just. Socrates then proceeds to show that Euthydemus' ideas of what is really good are no less confused and self-contradictory than his ideas about justice, and Euthydemus goes away convinced that he knows nothing, and thinking himself no better than a slave. Such,' adds Xenophon, was a frequent result of conversing with Socrates; in many cases those who had been thus humiliated kept out of his way for the future; these he called cowards; but Euthydemus on the contrary thought his only hope of improving himself was to be continually in the society of Socrates, and Socrates, finding him thus docile and eager to improve, taught him simply and plainly what he thought it most useful for him to know.'
I have selected this conversation for the sake of comparison with a conversation on the same subject which I have quoted below from Plato's Republic. It is interesting to note that it ends with a negative conclusion, as so many of the Platonic dialogues do, its object being to destroy a false belief of knowledge and awaken interest, not to communicate any definite doctrines. The paradox as to the superior morality of intentional wrong-doing reappears in Plato. And no doubt, if we are comparing the moral condition of two persons guilty of the same act of treachery or ingratitude, one of whom did wrong knowing it to be wrong, while the other had no feeling of wrong in
the matter, we should agree with Socrates in considering the latter more hopelessly immoral than the former': but it is plain, from many passages both in Xenophon and Plato, that Socrates was really carried away by his analogy between the art or science of life (which was his view of virtue) and the particular arts and sciences; and that he never gave due attention to the phenomena of human weakness (ákpátela) and moral choice (npoatpeois) which were afterwards so carefully analyzed by Aristotle.
One other passage from Xenophon may be cited here, as the first appearance of the argument from Final Causes*. Socrates is endeavouring to prove to Aristodemus that the world is the work of a benevolent Creator, not the result of chance. After laying down the principle that the adaptation of means to ends is an evidence of intelligent activity, he proceeds to point out the adaptations existing between the several parts of man's nature and also between his nature and his environment. Man is endowed with instincts which lead him, independently of reason, to perform those actions which are essential for self-preservation and for the continuance of the species; he has senses capable of receiving pleasure, and he finds objects around him of such a nature as to give him pleasure; he is favoured above all other animals in the possession of hands and in the faculty of speech and the power of thought, through which he is made capable of higher pleasures and brought into communication with higher objects. His consciousness of his own reason is a proof to him of a Reason outside of him, from which that reason was derived.
1 See Arist. Eth. III. i. 14. 2 Mim, I.
cf. IV. 3.
Plato is distinguished from the other disciples of Socrates as the one who represents most truly the many-sidedness of his master, completing indeed and developing what was defective in him and incorporating all that was valuable in the earlier philosophers. Before treating of him it will be convenient to speak shortly of the imperfect' or one-sided Socraticists.
Euclides of Megara, the founder of the Megaric and so ultimately of the Sceptic school, was chiefly attracted by the negative teaching of Socrates, and his followers are noted as the inventors of various sophisms which served them as offensive weapons against their opponents. The main positive doctrine attributed to them is that they identified the Good, which Socrates called the highest object of knowledge, with the Absolute One of Parmenides, denying the existence of Evil.
Antisthenes, the founder of the Cynic and indirectly of the Stoic school, was the caricature of the ascetic and unconventional side of Socrates. Nothing is good but virtue, nothing evil but vice. Virtue is wisdom and the wise man is always perfectly happy because he is self-sufficient and has no wants, no ties and no weaknesses. The mass of men are fools and slaves, and the wise man is their appointed guide and physician. Acting on these principles the Cynics were the mendicant Friars of their time, abstaining from marriage and repudiating all civil claims, while they professed themselves to be citizens of a world-wide community. On the subject of religion Antisthenes stated explicitly, what was doubtless implied in the teaching of Socrates, that there was only one God, who is invisible and whose worship consists in a virtuous life.
The name 'Cynic' may have had a reference in the first instance to Cynosarges, the gymnasium in which Antisthenes taught; but it speedily received the connotation of dog-like, brutal, which seems to have been justified by the manners of some members of the school. Diogenes, the more famous disciple of Antisthenes, was fond of speaking of himself as ó kvøv, and it seems to have been a usual thing with the Cynics, as with the other Socratics, to draw inferences as to the true and unsophisticated nature of man, from the habits of dogs and other animals'. The aim of the school being to return from a corrupt civilization to a state of nature, they put forward three main ‘Counsels of Perfection,' as we may call them, by which this was to be attained, freedom (élevbepía), frankness or outspokenness (Tapongia), and self-sufficingness or independence (aŭTápkela). The Cynics, and especially Diogenes, were famous for their pithy sayings and for their pungent biting wit. The following are taken from Mullach's collection. Antisthenes Fr. 65, 'Give me madness rather than pleasure?.' Fr. 88, If you pursue pleasure, let it be that which follows toil, not that which precedes it.' Fr. 64, “The only pleasure that is good is that which does not need to be repented of.' Fr. 55, "To be in ill repute is good,
Compare in Mullach's Collection of Fragments, Diog. § 33, 'other dogs bite their enemies, but I my friends for their good;' also $ 122, § 145, $ 190, § 210, &c. In § 286 men are said to be ‘more miserable than beasts because of their luxury and effeminacy. If they would live the same simple lives, they would be equally free from diseases whether of mind or body.' Similarly Plato in the Republic makes the dog his pattern for the education and mode of life of the Guardians. See II 375 foll., and v 451 foll.
2 μανείην μάλλον ή ήσθείην.
as toil is good.' Fr. 105, 108, to the question 'what he had gained from philosophy?' he replied to be able to endure my own company;' 'what kind of learning was the most necessary?' 'to unlearn what is evil. Fr. 44, discussing with Plato the nature of general conceptions, he said', 'I can see this horse, but not your ideal horse.' 'Yes,' said Plato, 'for you have the sight with which this horse can be seen, but you have not acquired the sight with which the ideal can be seen. We read of similar encounters between Diogenes and Plato; thus, by way of ridiculing the latter's definition of man, a 'featherless biped,' Diogenes brought a plucked fowl into the lectureroom; upon which Plato is said to have amended his definition by adding Thatvuvuxos, 'with broad nails' (Fr. 124). On another occasion he is said to have come into Plato's house when he was entertaining some friends, and trampled on the beautiful carpets, saying, 'thus I trample on Plato's pride;' to which Plato replied, 'with no less pride, Diogenes.' The story of his interview with Alexander is familiar to every one. Among other characteristic sayings may be mentioned Fr. 281, 'It belongs to the Gods to want nothing, to godlike men to want as little as possible.' Fr. 113, ‘Oppose to fortune courage, to law nature, to passion reason.' Fr. 295, 296, ‘Nothing can be accomplished without training (đo knois). Training of the soul is as necessary as that of the body. All things are possible by training.' We read that he crowned himself with the pine-wreath, claiming to have won a greater victory than that at the Isthmia, in his contest with
1 "Ίππον μεν ορώ, ιππότητα δε ουχ ορώ. 2 Fr. 82, Πατώ τον Πλάτωνος τυφον. Ετέρω γε τύφο, Διόγενες.