Plato the teacher: being selections from the Apology, Euthydemus, Protagoras, Symposium, Phædrus, Republic, and Phædo of Plato; online

. (page 1 of 41)
Online LibraryPlatoPlato the teacher: being selections from the Apology, Euthydemus, Protagoras, Symposium, Phædrus, Republic, and Phædo of Plato; → online text (page 1 of 41)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook



Being Selections from the ^Apology, Euthydemus,
Protagoras, 'Symposium, Ph^drus, Republic,










£5 3^8




Copyright, 1897, by





In memory


A lover of men




Preface, ix

General Introduction, xiii

Introduction to Apology, 3

Apology, 5

Introduction to Euthydemus, 33

euthydemus, 35

Introduction to Protagoras, 63

Protagoras, 67

Introduction to the Symposium, . . . .105

The Symposium, 107

Introduction to Ph^edrus, 137

Ph/edrus, 141

Introduction to the Republic, 181

The Republic :

Book I., 187

Book II., 199

Book III., 227

Book IV., 251

Book V., . • 279

Book VI., 291

Book VII., 319 \s

Book VIII., 342

Book IX., 373

Book X., . . .394

Suggestions on the Study of the Ph^edo, . .413
Ph^edo, . .417


Plato's fame as a philosopher prevents many
from reading him far enough to discover that he
is also a teacher of the folk. He is one of very-
few who can speak at times for the masters alone,
and at other times so that the " common people hear
him gladly." The historic Socrates drew about him
all sorts and conditions of men, from the philoso-
pher to the rake, each by the proper magic ; and all
sorts and conditions of men may yet feel something
of his magic through the dialogues of Plato. To
help publish the open secret that Plato speaks with
simplicity and charm and power to all of us, is the-^t^ . ^/
pui£P£e_oi this_boojc. $

The . ftpologv is placed first as the best possiblefc^*
introdu ^tionjo t he life and spirit of Socrates. The d-&~j J J
^ Euthydemus shows Socrates in contrast w jth_the ^

b aser So phis ts, the-*ffrota goras in contr ast with the
sjLi^ejuor_Sop_hists. The*Symposium and^Phsedrus
shQ_ w_philosophically an d dramatically Plato's con -
cerjjjojuiLlQ_ve_ as thebasis of scien ce and nf jfeacj?-
ing. This is Plato's most important contribution to
Education. The* Republic gives Plato's entire sche me
oXj^ducaiion, as d etermin e d by_ the__Jndi vidua l and



bv his social re lations. This is an inexhaustible mine
of wisdom for the teacher. The^Phaedp is intro-
duced partly for its own sake and partly because all
Plato's thought about t^educatkni^i Lmanjyas de -
terniined bxhis ^conceptio jL-Qf the absolute jiatLire
and destiny _of man .
^ The introducti ons to the several dialogues are in-

^**^vi2^ tended only to give a few suggestive clews which
may prove useful to elementary readers. The in- to the_PhaedQ is an outline for the study
of that dialogue.

The notes, constitute a dictionary of the biograph-
ical, geographical, and mythological terms or refer-
ences in the text. Scholars will observe that the
notes have been written with great reserve. While
we have sought the highest accuracy in every line,
we have sought no less to exclude all antiquarian
lore that would not directly assist the elementary
reader to understand the text.

In the preparation of this book the endeavor
throughout has been toJeXPJ^tp_s_rje_aJ_Li^
The notes and i ntroductions are intended only to
elucidate and not to criticise. To prevent possible
misunderstanding, however, it may be well to state
a few of the more important points in which we do
^^uli^. no t acce pt Plato's teaching , (i.) It is scarcely neces-
^%c^ sar y t0 sa y that the modern Christian world has out-
grown many of Plato's ideas of morality. In criti-
cising these, however, it should be remembered that
no one is wholly free from the influence of his age,
and that in many things Plato was better than his
age. (2.) We prefer actual democracy even to
Plato's ideal aristocracy. (3.) We believe that con-


tact with the earth through the senses and hands is
not, as Plato seems to have believed, a degradation
to the soul, but is a spiritual necessity. (4.) We be-
lieve that Plato's conception of God and of man's
relation to God, far as it is beyond that which is
often found among Christians, falls far short of that
shown to us by our Lord.

The translation used is that of Jowett (the Charles
Scribner's Sons' Edition). In a few cases where
Jowett uses a foreign phrase or an expression pre-
senting special difficulty to those unread in the
classics, slight alterations have been made.

In the preparation of the notes we have used the
Greek text of Plato; Liddell and Scott's Greek Dic-
tionary ; * Harper's Classical Dictionary ; Johnson's
Cyclopaedia; Smith's Classical Dictionary; Bulfinch's,
Guerber's, and Gayley's Manuals of Mythology ;
Jowett's Introductions and Analyses ; The Index to
Jowett's Plato, third edition ; Zeller's Plato and the
Older Academy ; Zeller's Socrates ; Grote's History
of Greece ; Grote's Plato ; Bosanquet's Companion
to Plato's Republic ; Socrates, Talks with Socrates
about Life, Talks with Athenian Youth, A Day in
Athens with Socrates, published by Charles Scrib-
ner's Sons ; and Webster's Dictionary, on the pro-
nunciation of proper names.

* Referred to in notes as L. & S.



/Plato was born at Athens about 427 B.C. His&^v*^
native city was then at the height of its prosperity. p '

At the beginning of that century the Greek states, ^^^'jfa
often at war with each other, and always jealous of ^t^^o
each other, had been forced to unite in a fight for
life against the innumerable hordes of the Persian
Empire. Athens was foremost in this fight, and
when the Persians were finally driven away, she ^^
succeeded in placing herself at the head of a power-
fioLleague of Greek cities. Accordingly, although
thepityhad been captured and burned by the Per-
sians\j3iepr1isently became, under the direction of
the statesman Pericles, far stronger politically and
commercially than ever before. A variety of causes
made this period also a golden age for many of the c -^tt
arts. The city had to be rebuilt. This was done
under direction of the sculptor Phidias, with a
splendor and artistic perfection perhaps never else-
where equalled. The democratic Athenian govern- As^^
ment, according to which questions of State were
decided in a general assembly of all the people,
gave occasion for the development of oratory of


the highest order. Finally, in this century, the
drama which had gradually developed in connection
with the worship of Dionysus, came to classic per-
fection in the comedies of Aristophanes and the
tragedies of ^Eschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.

Athens had yet another glory of which some of
her citizens were not proud. She had become the
principal seat of philosophy. In order to appreciate
the state of philosophy at this time, and the feeling
of the people toward it, we must give a brief ac-
count of the preceding history of philosophy.


^v-h^L The deliberate search after scientific or p hilo-
^^o^^ophicJxu^h^r^se first, so far as we know, about two
r* :?hundred years before the time, of Plato , among the
Greeks who lived qn_ the weste rn coast of Asia
Minor. There were a dozen Greek cities on that
coast and the adjacent islands of the JBge'an archi-
pelago, as far back as authentic history runs. These
^,) cities were fortunately placed. They had at their

' back a prosperous country and before them the sea.

They developed a great trade all around the JEgean
and Mediterranean Seas, — with Tyre and Sidon,
with Egypt, and with the widely scattered Greek
colonies. They became very rich. But that was
not all. By contact with new peoples, they ac-
quired new ideas and the habit of looking out for
new ideas. They were without doubt especially
indebted to Egypt. Indirectly through Phoenicia,
they got from Egypt the alphabet which is substan-
tially the one we use to-day. Besides this invalu-


able gift, they got from the Egyptians a first lesson
in science. The study of the heavenly bodies had,
been from ancient times part of the religious duty
of the Egyptian priests, who therefore had consider-
able knowledge of astronoj ny. On account of the
yearly overflow of the Nile, it had been necessary
to have some method of measuring land in order to
re-establish boundary lines. The Egyptians had
accordingly some knowledge of geom etry . In the
course of time Greek travelers acquired this learn-
ing. We find, for example, that Thales, a Greek of
Miletus, predicted an eclipse of the sun which oc-
curred in 585 B.C.

But, as I have said, these Greeks acquired by Q
their travel, not only new ideas, but also an eagery*,//^
curiosity for more new ideas. They were not at alr*-^-^/^
satisfied to accept the learning of Egypt and of
Tyre and Sidon, as they found it. That learning
helped t o free the m somewhat from faith in the
myths by which their ancestors had explained all
things in heaven and earth, but gave them no suffi-
cient substitute for the old faith. It is, at any rate,
certain that about 650 B.C., a few sages in the Ionic
cities were beginning to grope toward a natural
explanation of things. In the movements of the
heavenly., bodies, for example, where the supersti-
tious saw only the caprice of the gods, they had
learned to see an order such that future events /^^h*;
could be predicted. This led some of the wiser^^^o
men to believe that there is an order__ruji ng in
n^iuj^jev^rvjvhere^ They began to raise questions
accordingly, not only about the true length of the
year, and the means of measuring time, but also


cr> very general questions, such as: What is the world

u2^¥ made of? What force has caused it to be gener-
ated ? What law has ruled in this generation ? We
have authentic accounts of more than a dozen dis-
tinguished men, living between 650 B.C. and the
time of Plato's birth (427 B.C.), whose lives were
spent in trying to answer questions of this sort.
If you read the answers they were able to make

-^uv^v^to these questions, ignorantly or carelessly enough,

'you may think them little better tljan childish. (jfe^ 6v
said that the world is made of wate?, which thickens
and hardens to make solid bodies, and thins to make
air and fire. f^QOtlier^said that the world is Jiiade
orai?'; anomerthat it is made oPfire ; anjofnerrofit it
is made of four elements— i %xth 2 _^Ji^_fii^i_^aLwatejr.
iW?iner*sai d that %\\ things are in_eternal JD oti on
and that when we think that anything is at rest, our
senses deceive us. Another said that tiL Lthings are
etern ally a t jjest and that when we think we see
motion, our senses deceive us. 0$e^#f9niat all
/things in nature move by numerical harmony, like
the notes of the musical scale, /mojmersaid that
love and hate are the two forces tjjat bring: all
things together or keep them apart. WTareuJanone
of them expressed in some form the belief that the
' evolution of the world is dire cted by o ne supreme
intelligence . Many of them expressed views on par-
ticular scientific questions which are very similar to
those now accepted. So, -for example, ; A Jiajrinland£r,

t ^J x *- who lived about 600 B.C., held sopre views about

(/^ the s_tru ctu r ^_ of_th e solar s ystem /which were more

nearly correct than the theories generally accepted

down to the time of Copernicus (a.d. 1543). I shall


not, however, discuss the value of this early p hiloso-
phizing further than to say that the more deeplyfrtf^W /
one studies it, the more surely one sees _that these Q

men werejiot fools L and that, in spite of their crudi.
ties, simi^jDfJ^hejn^^ What I

wish now to do is to discuss their influence upon
the public mind of Greece. Plato s doctrine of ideas
varied at different periods of his life. Its established
features may be stated as follows:

Every one knows what a common noun is, as tree,
horse, stone, etc. A moment's thought will show
that common nouns may be arranged in a system.
Children recognize some such system in their game*'
of twenty questions, when they ask if the thing you
have thought of is material or immaterial ; if mate-
rial, whether it is animal, vegetable, or mineral ; if
an animal, whether aland animal or a water animal;
and so on until they have run down the particular
thing or class of things thought of. In any such
system the special classes run together into gen-
eral classes, until at last all run together into one
class, say the class being, which includes all beings,
divine and human, living and dead.

Now Plato believed (i) that correspondi ng to
every common noun there is a real, eternal, and :pe.r-
fect being, in the likeness~oTwnich and by the power
of which every particular being coming under that
class is made ; (2) that, corresponding to the system
of common nouns, there is a system of such real,
eternal, and perfect beings ; and (3) that, correspond-
ing to the highest common noun, there is a Highest
Being, which is the prime source of all lower beings
and so of all things whatever. The real, eternal, and
perfect beings corresponding to our common nouns


Plato called ideas. He did not, therefore, use the
word idea in the sense that we are most accustomed
to The highest idea is God. «*WA*^*k>&~<

Now while he believed that these ideas are pure,
holy, and beautiful, he believed that the particular
objects which the world that we see is made of — the
actual trees, horses, etc. — are only imperfect copies
of their ideas, and are, therefore, not at all pure,
holy, and beautiful, but just the contrary. The

Online LibraryPlatoPlato the teacher: being selections from the Apology, Euthydemus, Protagoras, Symposium, Phædrus, Republic, and Phædo of Plato; → online text (page 1 of 41)