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类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-08-08 16:49:29


That mortals use, each with a different meaning,

We cannot tell to what extent the divergences which afterwards made Plato and Aristotle pass for types of the most extreme intellectual opposition were already manifested during their personal intercourse.172 The tradition is that the teacher compared his pupil to a foal that kicks his mother after draining her dry. There is a certain rough truth as well as rough wit about the remark; but the author of the Parmenides could hardly have been much affected by criticisms on the ideal theory which he had himself reasoned out with equal candour and acuteness; and if, as we sometimes feel tempted to conjecture, those criticisms were first suggested to him by Aristotle in conversation, it will be still more evident that they were received without offence.173

Plato knew perfectly well that although rhetoricians and men of the world might be silenced, they could not be converted nor even convinced by such arguments as these. So far from thinking it possible to reason men into virtue, he has observed of those who are slaves to their senses that you must improve them before you can teach them the truth.L And he234 felt that if the complete assimilation of the individual and the community was to become more than a mere logical formula, it must be effected by a radical reform in the training of the one and in the institutions of the other. Accordingly, he set himself to elaborate a scheme for the purpose, our knowledge of which is chiefly derived from his greatest work, the Republic. We have already made large use of the negative criticism scattered through that Dialogue; we have now to examine the positive teaching by which it was supplemented.VI.

Thus does the everlasting Greek love of order, definition, limitation, reassert its supremacy over the intelligence of this noble thinker, just as his almost mystical enthusiasm has reached its highest pitch of exaltation, giving him back a world which thought can measure, circumscribe, and control.

A much more important factor in the social movement than those already mentioned was the ever-increasing influence of women. This probably stood at the lowest point to which it has ever fallen, during the classic age of Greek life and thought. In the history of Thucydides, so far as it forms a connected series of events, four times only during a period of nearly seventy years does a woman cross the scene. In each instance her apparition only lasts for a moment. In three of the four instances she is a queen or a princess, and belongs either to the half-barbarous kingdoms of northern Hellas or to wholly barbarous Thrace. In the one remaining instance208鈥 that of the woman who helps some of the trapped Thebans to make their escape from Plataea鈥攚hile her deed of mercy will live for ever, her name is for ever lost.319 But no sooner did philosophy abandon physics for ethics and religion than the importance of those subjects to women was perceived, first by Socrates, and after him by Xenophon and Plato. Women are said to have attended Plato鈥檚 lectures disguised as men. Women formed part of the circle which gathered round Epicurus in his suburban retreat. Others aspired not only to learn but to teach. Ar锚t锚, the daughter of Aristippus, handed on the Cyrenaic doctrine to her son, the younger Aristippus. Hipparchia, the wife of Crates the Cynic, earned a place among the representatives of his school. But all these were exceptions; some of them belonged to the class of Hetaerae; and philosophy, although it might address itself to them, remained unaffected by their influence. The case was widely different in Rome, where women were far more highly honoured than in Greece;320 and even if the prominent part assigned to them in the legendary history of the city be a proof, among others, of its untrustworthiness, still that such stories should be thought worth inventing and preserving is an indirect proof of the extent to which feminine influence prevailed. With the loss of political liberty, their importance, as always happens at such a conjuncture, was considerably increased. Under a personal government there is far more scope for intrigue than where law is king; and as intriguers women are at least the209 equals of men. Moreover, they profited fully by the levelling tendencies of the age. One great service of the imperial jurisconsults was to remove some of the disabilities under which women formerly suffered. According to the old law, they were placed under male guardianship through their whole life, but this restraint was first reduced to a legal fiction by compelling the guardian to do what they wished, and at last it was entirely abolished. Their powers both of inheritance and bequest were extended; they frequently possessed immense wealth; and their wealth was sometimes expended for purposes of public munificence. Their social freedom seems to have been unlimited, and they formed combinations among themselves which probably served to increase their general influence.321If we interpret this doctrine, after the example of some of the ancients, to mean that any wrong-doing would be innocent and good, supposing it escaped detection, we shall probably be misconstruing Epicurus. What he seems to allude to is rather the case of strictly legal enactments, where, previously to law, the action need not have been particularly moral or immoral; where, in fact, the common agreement has established a rule which is not completely in harmony with the 鈥榡ustice of nature.鈥 In short, Epicurus is protesting against the conception of injustice, which makes it consist in disobedience to political and social rules, imposed and enforced by public and authoritative sanctions. He is protesting, in other words, against the claims of the State upon the citizens for their complete obedience;71 against the old ideas of the divine sanctity and majesty of law as law; against theories like that maintained by contemporaries of Socrates, that there could be no such thing as an unjust law.143For neither house nor city flanked with towers

鈥楢las! what is life, what is death, what are we,

Notwithstanding the importance of this impulse, it does not represent the whole effect produced by Protagoras on philosophy. His eristic method was taken up by the Megaric school, and at first combined with other elements borrowed from Parmenides and Socrates, but ultimately extricated from them and used as a critical solvent of all dogmatism by the later Sceptics. From their writings, after a long interval of enforced silence, it passed over to Montaigne, Bayle, Hume, and Kant, with what redoubtable consequences to received opinions need not here be specified. Our object is simply to illustrate the continuity of thought, and the powerful influence exercised by ancient Greece on its subsequent development.VIII.

Both the Theaet锚tus and the Cratylus contain allusions to mathematical reasoning, but its full significance is first exhibited in the Meno. Here the old question, whether virtue can be taught, is again raised, to be discussed from an entirely new point of view, and resolved into the more general question, Can anything be taught? The answer is, Yes and No. You may stimulate the native activity of the intellect, but you cannot create it. Take a totally uneducated man, and, under proper guidance, he shall discover the truths of geometry for himself, by virtue of their self-evident clearness. Being independent of any traceable experience, the elementary principles of this science, of all science, must have been acquired in some antenatal period, or rather they were never acquired at all, they belong to the very nature of the soul herself. The doctrine here unfolded had a great future before it; and it has never, perhaps, been discussed with so much eagerness as during the last half-century among ourselves. The masters of English thought have placed the issue first raised by Plato in the very front of philosophical controversy; and the general public have been brought to feel that their dearest interests hang on its decision. The subject has, however, lost much of its adventitious interest to those who know that the 脿 priori position was turned, a hundred years ago, by Kant. The philosopher of K?nigsberg showed that, granting knowledge to be composed of two elements, mind adds nothing to outward experience but its own forms, the system of connexions according to which it groups phenomena. Deprive these forms of the content given to them by feeling, and the soul will be left beating her wings in a vacuum. The doctrine that knowledge is not a212 dead deposit in consciousness or memory, but a living energy whereby phenomena are, to use Kant鈥檚 words, gathered up into the synthetic unity of apperception, has since found a physiological basis in the theory of central innervation. And the experiential school of psychology have simultaneously come to recognise the existence of fixed conditions under which consciousness works and grows, and which, in the last analysis, resolve themselves into the apprehension of resemblance, difference, coexistence, and succession. The most complex cognition involves no more than these four categories; and it is probable that they all co-operate in the most elementary perception.Before parting with the Poetics we must add that it contains one excellent piece of advice to dramatists, which is, to imagine themselves present at the scenes which they are supposing to happen, and also at the representation of their own play. This, however, is an exception which proves the rule, for Aristotle鈥檚 exclusively theoretic standpoint here, as will sometimes happen, coincides with the truly practical standpoint.

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If there are any who value Aristotle as a champion of spiritualism, they must take him with his encumbrances. If his philosophy proves that one part of the soul is immaterial, it proves equally that the soul, taking it altogether, is perishable. Not only does he reject Plato鈥檚 metempsychosis as inconsistent with physiology, but he declares that affection, memory, and reasoning are functions not of the eternal Nous, but of the whole man, and come to an end with his dissolution. As to the active Nous, he tells us that it cannot think without the assistance of the passive Nous, which is mortal. And there are various passages in the 鈥楴icomachean Ethics鈥 showing that he had faced this negation of a future life, and was perfectly resigned to its consequences.272 At one period of his life, probably when under the immediate influence of Plato, he had indulged375 in dreams of immortality; but a profounder acquaintance with natural science sufficed to dissipate them. Perhaps a lingering veneration for his teacher made him purposely use ambiguous language in reference to the eternity of that creative reason which he had so closely associated with self-consciousness. It may remind us of Spinoza鈥檚 celebrated proposition, Sentimus experimurque nos aeternos esse, words absolutely disconnected with the hope of a continued existence of the individual after death, but apparently intended to enlist some of the sentiment associated with that belief on the side of the writer鈥檚 own philosophy.To the criticism and systematisation of common language and common opinion succeeded the more laborious criticism and systematisation of philosophical theories. Such an enormous amount of labour was demanded for the task of working up the materials amassed by Greek thought during the period of its creative originality, and accommodating them to the popular belief, that not much could be done in the way of adding to their extent. Nor was this all. Among the most valuable ideas of the earlier thinkers were those which stood in most striking opposition to the evidence of the senses. As such they were excluded from the system which had for its object the reorganisation of philosophy on the basis of general consent. Thus not only did thought tend to become stationary, but it even abandoned some of the ground which had been formerly won.

We need not follow Plato鈥檚 investigations into the meaning of knowledge and the causes of illusion any further; especially as they do not lead, in this instance, to any positive conclusion. The general tendency is to seek for truth within rather than without; and to connect error partly with the disturbing influence of sense-impressions on the higher mental faculties, partly with the inherent confusion and instability of the phenomena whence those impressions are derived. Our principal concern here is to note the expansive power of generalisation which was carrying philosophy back again from man to Nature鈥攖he deep-seated contempt of Plato for public opinion鈥攁nd the incipient differentiation of demonstrated from empirical truth.And fill the plain with armed men, for I




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