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has translated all that part of the dialogue in which Plato has explained the system of Protagoras, from p. 151. to 168. The description of a true1 philosopher in this place, (though a little aggravated, and more in the character of Plato than of Socrates,) has yet an elevation in it which is admirable. The Abbé Sallier has also given a sketch of the dialogue, which is a very long one, and (as he rightly judges) would not be much approved in a translation. It is of that kind called Iepaσtikos, in order to make trial of the capacity of Theætetus, while Socrates (as he says) only plays the midwife, and brings the conceptions of his mind to light. The question is; what is knowledge? and the purpose of the dialogue is rather to refute the false definitions of it, as established by 2 Protagoras in his writings, and resulting from the tenets of Heraclitus,3
1 P. 172 of this dialogue. See also Gorgias, p. 484.
2 His fundamental tenet was this; viz: Пavтwv XpημаTWV μετρον Ανθρωπον ειναι των μεν οντων, ὡς εστι των δε μη οντων IS OUR EσTI' that every man's own perceptions of things were (to him) the measure and the test of truth and of falsehood.
3 Viz. That motion was the principle of being, and the only cause of all its qualities. Mr. Hardion has given us a short view of the arguments used by Protagoras in support of these doctrines in his seventh Dissertation on the Rise and Progress of Eloquence in Greece. See Mémoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions, &c. V. 15. p. 152. This seems to be much the same with the doctrine of the new Academy; "Omnes omnino res, quæ sensus omnium movent Tv Tроs Tɩ esse dicunt: id verbum significat nihil esse quicquam quod ex se constet, nec quod habeat vim propriam et naturam; sed omnia prorsum ad aliquid referri, taliaque videri esse, qualis sit eorum species, dum videntur, qualiaque apud sensus nostros, quo pervenerunt, creantur, non apud sese, unde profecta sunt." Aul. Gell. L. 11. c. 5. Vid. Platon. Cratylum, p. 385.
of Empedocles, and of other philosophers, than to produce a better definition of his own. Yet there are many fine and remarkable passages in it, such as the observations of Theodorus on the faults of temper, which usually attend on brighter parts, and on the defects of genius often found in minds of a more sedate and solid turn; Socrates's illustration of his own art by the whimsical comparison between that and midwifery; his opinion, that admiration is the parent of philosophy; the active and passive powers 2 of matter, arising from the perpetual flux and motion of all things, (being the doctrine of Heraclitus and others,) explained; the reflections on philosophical leisure, and on a liberal turn of mind opposed to the little cunning and narrow thoughts of mere men of business; the description of Heraclitus's followers, then very numerous in Ionia, particularly at Ephesus; the account of the tenets of Parmenides and of Melissus, directly
1 Δια το θαυμαζειν οι ανθρωποι, και νυν και πρωτον, ηρξαντο piλoσopei, &c. Aristot. Metaphys. L. 1. p. 335. Ed. Sylburg.
2 There is a near affinity between this, and Mr. Locke's account in the beginning of his chapter on Power, L. 2. c. 21. and in his reflections on our ideas of secondary qualities. B. 2. c. 8. See also Cudworth's Intellectual System, B. 1. c. 1.
* They maintained, ὡς ἑν τα παντα εστι, και έστηκεν αυτο εν άντω, ουκ εχον χωραν, εν ώ κινειται.
Socrates speaks with respect of these two philosophers, particularly of Parmenides: Παρμενίδης δε μοι φαίνεται (κατα το του Όμηρου) αιδοιος τε μοι ειναι ἁμα δεινος τε συμπροσεμιξα γαρ τω ανδρι πανυ νεος πανυ πρεσβυτῃ, και μοι εφανη βαθος τι έχειν
πανταπασι γενναιον. (p. 183.) and in the Sophist, p. 217. Οίον
ποτε και Παρμενίδη χρωμένω, &c. and ib. p. 237. Παρμενίδης δε μεγας, &ε.
contrary to those of the former; the distinction between our senses, the instruments through which the mind perceives external objects, and the mind itself, which judges of their existence, their likeness and their difference, and founds1 its knowledge on the ideas which it abstracts from them; to which we may add, the comparison of ideas fixed in the memory2 to impressions made in wax, and the dwelling on this similitude in order to shew the several imperfections of this faculty in different constitutions.
1 P. 184, 5, and 6.] Compare this with Locke's Definition of Knowledge, B. 4. c. 1.
2 P. 191 to 194.] Here also see Locke on retention, B. 2. c. 10. and C. 29. § 3. on clear and obscure ideas.
Η, ΠΕΡΙ ΤΟΥ ΟΝΤΟΣ.
ON THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN PHILOSOPHY AND
Platon. Op. Serrani, Vol. 1. p. 216.
I AM convinced that this is a continuation of the Theatetus, which ends with these words, Εωθεν δε, ω Θεοδωρε, δευρο παλιν απαντωμεν, as this begins, Κατα την χθες ὁμολογίαν, ω Σωκρατες, αυτοι τε κοσμίως ἥκομεν, και τονδε τινα ξενον αγομεν. The persons are the same, except the philosopher of the Eleatick school, who is here introduced, and who carries on the disputation
NOTES ON THE GREEK TEXT.
Ρ. 216. Ετερον τε των αμφι Παρμενίδην και Ζήνωνα ἑταίρων.] Read for ἑτερον, ἑταιρον.
Ib. Οποσοι μετεχουσιν αιδούς.] Hom. Odyss. P. v. 485.
217. Δι' ερωτησεων.] We see therefore that Parmenides practised the dialectick method of reasoning, which his scholar Zeno first reduced to an art, as Aristotle tells us, and also Laertius,
L. 9. § 25.
218. Σωκρατη.] The younger Socrates about the same age with Plato and Theætetus. (Vid. Plato Epist. 11.)
226. Οικετικων ονοματων.]
Longinum, s. 43.
Vulgar and trivial terms. Vide
with Theætetus while both Theodorus and Socrates continue silent. The apparent subject of it is the character of a sophist, which is here at large displayed in opposition to that of a philosopher; but here too he occasionally attacks the opinions of Protagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and others, on the incertitude of all existence and on the perpetual flux of matter.
This dialogue, in a translation, would suit the taste of the present age still less even than the Theætetus;
P. 232. Tа Прwтayopeia.] Laertius (L. 9. sect. 52.) tells us that the works of Protagoras were publickly burnt at Athens, yet he reckons up a number of them as still extant in his time: and we see, both here and in the Theatetus, that they were left by the author, at his departure from Athens, in the hands of Callias, and were known to every one there: dednμooiwμeva tov καταβέβληται.
Ib. Tns Avriλoyikηs.] Protagoras had left a work in two books entitled Avriλoyiai; whence Aristoxenus (Laert. L. 3. s. 37.) accuses Plato of borrowing a great part of his work De Republica.
234. Ως εγγυτατατω ανευ των παθηματων.] This is undoubtedly the true reading; ὡς εγγυτατω μαθηματων is very poor and insipid.
235. Ουκουν όσοι γε των μεγαλων.] Hence the Abbé Sallier collects (Mém. de l'Acad. des Inscriptions, Vol. 8. p. 97.) that the Ancients were no strangers to perspective, both lineal and aerial. See Plato de Republ. L. 10. p. 606. on poetical imitation, and Vitruvius, L. 7. c. 5. The words seem only to relate to colossal figures, where the upper parts must be made larger, as they are farther removed from the eye.
Ib. Της παιδειας μετεχοντων.] Read, της παιδιας.
Ib. Ουδε αλλο γενος ουδεν. ] Plato seems to triumph here in his own method of division and distinction.