The Unity of Plato's Thought

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University of Chicago Press, 1903 - Philosophy, Ancient - 88 pages
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Page 17 - Yet truth, in everything but mathematics, is not a single but a double question ; not what can be said for an opinion, but whether more can be said for it than against it. There is no knowledge, and no assurance of right belief, but with him who can both confute the opposite opinion, and successfully defend his own against confutation.
Page 25 - ... the picture of some brilliant young Alcibiades standing at the crossways of life and debating in his mind whether his best chance of happiness lay in accepting the conventional moral law that serves to police the vulgar or in giving rein to the instincts and appetites of his own stronger nature. To confute the one, to convince the other, became to him the main problem of moral philosophy. It is a chief duty of the rulers in the Republic and the Laws, and the Socrates of the dialogues is at all...
Page 25 - Just how much positively immoral and cynical philosophy was current in Plato's day is, as we have seen, a disputed historical question. But Plato himself was haunted by the thought of the unscrupulous skeptic who sought to justify his own practice by appeals to the law of nature or theories of the origin of justice in a conspiracy of the weak against the strong.
Page 10 - Opinion and habit may often suffice to regulate action, but persistent right opinion presupposes knowledge in its teachers, and the highest rule of conduct must be deduced from and referred to a rational apprehension of ultimate good.
Page 14 - When we find this game dramatically illustrated why should we assume nai've unconsciousness on Plato's part? c) The Republic, in which Plato explicitly states his solution of these problems, is a marvelous achievement of mature constructive thought. But the ideas and distinctions required for the solution itself are obvious enough, and it is absurd to affirm that they were beyond the reach of a thinker who was capable of composing the Protagoras, the subtle Lysis and Charmides, or the eloquent and...
Page 9 - The modern free-will controversy arises out of two conceptions not connected with this problem by Plato: the infinite foreknowledge of God, and the absolute continuity of physical causation. It is, then, unprofitable to inquire whether Plato taught free-will or determinism. But it should be distinctly noted that in the Laws he employs precisely the logic of modern determinism to prove that the involuntary character of wrongdoing is compatible with the distinction for legal purposes of voluntary and...
Page 22 - But Plato is not alone in his aversion to the word. Matthew Arnold acknowledges a similar feeling. And Jowett, in his admirable introduction to the Philebus, has once for all set forth the considerations by which many clear-headed modern thinkers, who perfectly understand the utilitarian logic and accept whatever is true in its psychology, are nevertheless moved to reject its language. The Greek word rjSovij is much more closely associated with a low view of happiness than the English word "pleasure...
Page 13 - The definitions of the virtues in Rep., 429 ff. cannot be understood apart from their context, and are never used again. They are declared to be a mere sketch — -airoypa^v, 504 D. How shall we explain this on the supposition that he was under any illusion as to the value of absolute and isolated definitions? b ) Plato repeatedly refers in a superior way to eristic, voluntary and involuntary...
Page 20 - The seeming contradiction between this and the anti-hedonism of the Gorgias and Philebus demands explanation. It has sometimes been argued that Plato's own opinions on this point were reversed between the composition of the Protagoras and that of the Gorgias. Another explanation is that Socrates merely develops a paradox for the bewilderment of the Sophist. And it is true that in some parts of the dialogue Socrates is obviously jesting,"t and that we are warned against accepting the result too seriously...
Page 9 - ... paradoxes; (2) the definition of the virtues, and, more particularly, the determination of their relation to a postulated supreme science or art, to happiness, to the political or royal art, to the idea of good; (3) the problem of hedonism; and (4), associated with it, the attempt to demonstrate the inseparability of virtue and happiness.

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