When did Greece stop producing great philosophers?

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A. Plato's philosophy

Plato also belongs to the Socratics. He is the most famous of the friends and listeners of Socrates, and who understood Socrates' principle that the being in consciousness is the being of consciousness in its truth: that the absolute in thought and all reality is thought - not the one-sided Thought or in the sense of bad idealism, according to which the thought comes back to one side and grasps itself as a conscious thought and contrasts it with reality, but the thought that is in one Unity is just as much reality as thinking, the concept and its reality in the movement of science - the idea of ​​a scientific whole. The right of self-conscious thought, which Socrates had elevated to a principle, this merely abstract right, was extended to the domain of science by Plato. He abandoned the narrow point of view in which Socrates had conceived the thought that existed in and for itself, namely as essence and purpose for the self-conscious will, and grasped it as the essence of the universe. He gave the principle extension and the way of construction, derivation of the principle, even if its representation is not scientific.

One of the most beautiful gifts that fate keeps for us from antiquity are undoubtedly the Platonic works. But to present his philosophy, which is not actually presented in them in a systematic form, is made more difficult by itself than by the fact that this philosophy has been understood differently from different times, but especially has been touched by the clumsy hands of more recent times who either carried their crude ideas into it, unable to grasp the spiritual spiritually, or what is regarded as the essential and strangest thing in Plato's philosophy, which in fact does not belong to philosophy, but to the way of thinking. Actually, however, only ignorance of philosophy complicates the conception of Platonic philosophy.

Plato is one of the world-historical individuals, his philosophy one of those world-historical existences which, from their origin on, have had the most important influence on the formation and development of the spirit in all subsequent times; The Christian religion, which contains this high principle in itself, has become this organization of the rational, this kingdom of the supersensible through the great beginning that Plato had already made. The peculiarity of Platonic philosophy is the direction towards the intellectual, supersensible world, the elevation of consciousness into the spiritual realm, so that the intellectual receives the form of the supersensible, of the spiritual, that belongs to thinking, that it is in this form for that Consciousness gets the importance into which consciousness is introduced and consciousness gains a firm foothold in this soil. The Christian religion then made the principle of man's destiny for salvation - or that his inner spiritual being is his true being - a general principle in its peculiar way. But that this principle is organized into a spiritual world, Plato and his philosophy played a major part in that. [12]

Before that we have his Living conditions to mention. "Plato was an Athenian, was born in the third year of the 87th Olympiad or according to Dodwell Ol. 87, 4 (429 BC birth) at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, in the year in which Pericles died." He was 39 or 40 years younger than Socrates. “His father Ariston derived his line from Kodros; his mother Periktione was descended from Solon. "His mother's father-brother was the famous Kritias (to be mentioned on this occasion), who had also dealt with Socrates for a time, and therefore" one of the 30 tyrants of Athens ", the most talented and witty also the most dangerous and most hated of them. Socrates was particularly resentful of this, and was reproached for having such disciples as himself and Alcibiades, who, through their carelessness, brought Athens almost to the brink of ruin. For if he interfered in the upbringing that others gave their children, then one was entitled to demand that what he wanted to do to educate the youngsters should not be weary. Critias, along with the Cyrenaic Theodoros and Diagoras from Melos, is usually listed by the ancients as a denial of God. Sextus Empirikus has a nice fragment from one of his poems.

Plato, now descended from this noble family (the means of his education were not lacking), received an education from the most respected sophists which exercised in him all the skills that were respected for an Athenian. “It was only later that his teacher gave him the name Plato; in his family his name was Aristocles. Some attribute his name to the breadth of his forehead, others to the richness and breadth of his speech, others to the shape and breadth of his figure. In his youth he cultivated the art of poetry and wrote tragedies "(as [13] probably young poets begin with tragedies in our country)," dithyrambs and chants "(melê, Songs, elegies, epigrams). In the Greek anthology, several of the latter are still retained for us, referring to his various lovers; among other things a familiar one to an aster (star), one of his best friends, which contains a kind of idea:


You look at the stars, my aster, oh would I like the sky

To look at you with so many eyes


A thought that is also reflected in Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet finds. Incidentally, in his youth he thought no different than devoting himself to state affairs. He was soon brought to Socrates by his father. "It is said that Socrates dreamed the night before that he had a young swan sitting on his knees, the wings of which had grown rapidly and which had now flown" (to heaven) "with the loveliest chants." The ancients mention many such Traits that attest to the great admiration and love that his contemporaries and those who followed gave him the name of the divine to his quiet greatness, his sublimity in the highest simplicity and loveliness. Socrates' contact and wisdom could not suffice for Plato. He was still occupied with the older philosophers, especially Heraclitus. Aristotle states that even before he came to Socrates he dealt with Kratylos and was initiated into the Heraclitic doctrine. He also studied the Eleati, and in particular the Pythagoreans, and had contact with the most famous sophists. [14] After so immersing himself in philosophy, he lost interest in affairs of state, renounced them altogether and devoted himself entirely to the sciences. Like Socrates, he fulfilled his duty of military service as an Athenian; he is said to have participated in three campaigns.

After the execution of Socrates he fled like many other philosophers from Athens and, as already mentioned, went to Euclid in Megara. (He had been with Socrates for eight years, from the 20th year on.) From Megara he soon went on trips, first to Cyrene in Africa, where he focused on mathematics under the guidance of the famous mathematician Theodoros, whom he also worked on in several introduces his dialogues as a participant. Plato himself soon became very skilled in mathematics. He is credited with the solution of the Delic or Delphic problem, which was given up by the oracle and which relates to the cube similar to the Pythagorean theorem, namely to indicate the distortion of a line whose cube is equal to the sum of two given cubes. This requires construction through two curves. It is noteworthy what kind of tasks the oracles have now done. It was during an epidemic that they turned to the oracle, and there was this very scientific task; it is a change in the spirit of the oracles that is most remarkable. From Cyrene Plato went to Egypt, but soon afterwards mainly to Greater Greece, where he partly got to know the Pythagoreans of that time, Archytas of Taranto, the famous mathematician, with whom he studied the Pythagorean philosophy, and partly the writings of the older Pythagoreans for hard money shopped. He made friends with Dion in Sicily. “On his return to Athens, he appeared as a teacher in the academy, in a grove or a walk in which there was a grammar school, conversing with his [15] students. The arrangement was made in honor of the hero Akademos "; but Plato became the true hero of the academy, who displaced the old meaning of the name of the academy and obscured the hero so that he might come to posterity under Plato's protection, who took his place.

Plato interrupted his stay and business in Athens by traveling three times to Sicily - to Dionysius the Younger, ruler of Syracuse and Sicily. The most important or only external relationship into which Plato entered was his association with Dionysius. Partly the friendship with Dion, partly particularly higher hopes - to see a true state constitution put into reality through Dionysius - drew him into this relationship, which, however, did not produce anything lasting. This now looks - superficially - quite plausible and is based on a hundred political novels: A young prince, and behind him, next to him stands a wise man, a philosopher who teaches him, inspires; this is an idea that is hollow in itself. The closest relative of Dionysius, Dion, and other respected Syracusans, friends of Dionysius, carried on with the hope that Dionysius, whom his father had grown up very uneducated and in whom they put the concept and respect for philosophy, and made him very eager had to get to know Plato - that Dionysius would gain a great deal from the acquaintance with Plato, that his as yet uneducated nature, which did not seem evil, would be determined by Plato's idea of ​​a true state constitution in such a way that he would establish it in Sicily Realization would come. This led Plato to take the lopsided step of traveling to Sicily. Dionysius took a great liking to Plato and had such respect for him, [16] that he wished to be respected by him too. But this did not last long. Dionysius was one of those mediocre natures who strive for fame and distinction in their half-heartedness, but who are incapable of any depth or seriousness, who have the appearance of it, which have no fixed character - character of half-heartedness, wanting and not being able to, like today's irony in the theater, someone thinks he is efficient, excellent, and yet is only a rascal. And with that only such a relationship can be represented. Only half-measures can be guided, but it is precisely this half-measure which itself destroys the plan, makes it impossible - which gives rise to such plans and at the same time makes them impracticable. A respect for science and education had been fanned by the rest of Plato and Dionysius. His participation in philosophy was just as superficial as his multiple attempts at poetry. He wanted to be everything, poet, philosopher, statesman, and couldn't stand being guided by others. It was formed, it could not be brought into depth. Outwardly, the unwillingness broke out in the disintegration of personalities against one another. Dionysius fell into disagreement with his relative Dion, and Plato became involved in it precisely because he did not want to give up his friendship with Dion and Dionysius was not as capable of a friendship based on respect and a common serious purpose as he was only partially had acquired personal affection for Plato, sometimes only vanity tied him to him. Dionysius, however, could not get him to bind himself firmly to him; he wanted to own it alone, and this was an imposition that was not accepted by Plato. Plato left. They separated and yet both felt the need to unite. Dionysius called him back to bring about reconciliation. Dionysius could not bear [17] not being able to have a firm bond with Plato; Dionysius found it particularly unbearable that Plato did not want to give up Dion. Plato gave in to the advance of his family, Dion, and especially Archytas and other Pythagoreans from Taranto, to whom Dionysius had turned and who were also interested in the reconciliation of Dionysius with Dion and Plato; yes, they even vouched for his safety and freedom to leave. Dionysius could no more tolerate Plato's absence than his presence; he felt embarrassed by the latter. No deeper relationship was established, the relationship was alternating; they approached again and parted anew. So the third stay in Sicily also ended with cold-heartedness; the relationship did not materialize. At one point the tension about the situation with Dion rose so high that when Plato wanted to leave again out of dissatisfaction with Dionysius' proceedings with Dion, Dionysius deprived him of the opportunity and at last tried to forcefully prevent [him] from leaving Sicily until Finally the Pythagoreans of Taranto entered, the Plato reclaimed from Dionysius, enforced his departure and brought him to Greece, with the fact that Dionysius shied away from the evil allegation that he was not on good terms with Plato.

Plato's hopes failed. It was an error of Plato to try to adapt the state constitutions to the demands of his philosophical idea through Dionysius. Later Plato even refused other states, which expressly turned to him and asked him, including the inhabitants of Cyrene and the Arcadians, to become their legislators. It was a time when [18] many Greek states no longer knew how to cope with their constitutions without being able to find anything new. Now, in the last thirty years, many constitutions have been made and anyone who has studied them will find it easy to make one. But the theoretical is not enough for a constitution, it is not individuals who make it; there is something divine and spiritual that makes its way through history. It is so strong that the thought of an individual means nothing against this power of the world spirit; and if these thoughts mean anything, can be realized, they are nothing more than the product of this power of the general mind. The idea that Plato should become legislator was not appropriate at this time; It was Solon, Lycurgus, but in Plato's time this could no longer be done. Plato refused any further involvement in the wishes of those states because they did not consent to the first condition which he made them, and that was the abolition of all private property. We shall consider this principle later in his practical philosophy.

So honored on the whole and especially in Athens Plato lived until the 108th Olympiad (348 BC born). He died on his birthday at a wedding feast at the age of 81.

Plato's philosophy is in us Fontsthat we have left from him. Form and content are equally important. In studying them, however, we have to know α) what we are looking for in them and what philosophy we can find in them, β) and precisely what the Platonic point of view does not achieve, its time cannot achieve at all. So it may be that they leave us [19] very unsatisfied, unable to satisfy the need with which we approach philosophy. It is better if they leave us unsatisfied on the whole than if we want to see them as the last. His point of view is definite and necessary; but one cannot stay with him, nor put oneself back on him, - reason makes higher demands. To make it the highest for us, as the point of view that we have to take, this is one of the weaknesses of our time, the greatness of not being able to bear the actually monstrous demands of the human spirit, to feel crushed and therefore weak-hearted by it to flee back. As in pedagogy the endeavor is to educate people in order to keep them safe from the world, ie to keep them in a circle - e.g. the office, idyllic bean planting - in which they know nothing about the world, no notice of if you take it, philosophy has gone back to religious belief, and so to Platonic philosophy. Both are moments that have their essential point of view and position; but they are not the philosophy of our time.One would be right to return to it, to relearn the idea of ​​speculative philosophy; but it is easy to speak so beautifully, after lust and love in general of beauty, excellence. One must stand above it, i.e., know the need of the thinking spirit of our time, or rather have this need. - The literary, the critical of Herr Schleiermacher, the critical distinction as to whether one or the other secondary dialogues are genuine (according to the testimonies of the ancients, there can be no doubt about the large ones anyway) is completely superfluous for philosophy and belongs to the hypercritics of our time .

In passing on to the presentation of Platonic philosophy, we must first speak of the first, immediate way in which it shows itself. It is the nature of the Platonic works themselves which, in their diversity, [20] present us with various forms of philosophizing. If we still had the purely philosophical (dogmatic) work of Plato, about which Brandis wrote, that under the title From philosophy or from ideas is quoted by Aristotle and he seems to have had before him, when he describes Platonic philosophy, speaks of it, we would then have before us his philosophy in a simpler form. But as it is, we only have his dialogues, and this form makes it difficult for us to immediately gain an idea, to make a definite representation of his philosophy. The form of the dialogue contains very heterogeneous elements, and what I mean by this is this: the fact that actual philosophizing about the absolute essence and the representation of the same are manifoldly mixed up is what constitutes this diversity.

Another difficulty is supposed to be: a distinction is made between exoteric and esoteric philosophy. Tennemann says (vol. II, p. 220): “Plato availed himself of the same right which every thinker is entitled to only share as much of his discoveries as he found good, and only to inform those whom he believed to be receptive. Aristotle, too, had an esoteric and exoteric philosophy, only with the difference that with this one the difference is only formally, but also at the same time with Plato material was. 'How simple-minded! It looks as if the philosopher is in possession of his thoughts as well as of external things. But the thoughts are something completely different. Conversely, the philosophical idea possesses man. When philosophers make themselves explicit about philosophical subjects, they must orientate themselves according to their ideas; you can't keep it in your pocket. If you also speak to some externally, then the idea is always included if the thing only has content. It doesn't take much to communicate or hand over an external thing, but to communicate an idea requires skill. It always remains something esoteric; so one does not have [21] merely the exoteric aspect of the philosophers. These are superficial ideas.

The historical aspect cannot be counted among the difficulties of grasping Plato's actual speculation, namely that Plato does not speak in his own person in his dialogues, but introduces Socrates and many other people, of whom one does not always know which ones present what Plato's opinion is. It might appear as if he had only presented the manner and teaching of Socrates historically in a special way. In Socratic dialogues like those given by Cicero, one can find out more about the characters; but there is no thorough interest in Cicero. In the case of Plato, however, there can really be no question of this ambiguity; this external difficulty is only apparent; his philosophy emerges very clearly from his dialogues. Because the Platonic dialogues are not of the same nature as the conversation of several, which consists of many monologues, one of which means this, the other that and sticks to his opinion. Rather, the difference in opinion that occurs has been examined; it gives a result as the truth; or the whole movement of knowing, if the result is negative, it is to which Plato belongs.

Another historical circumstance that seems to belong to the diversity is that much has been said by old and modern about that Plato took up in his dialogues from Socrates, from this and that sophist, but especially from the writings of the Pythagoreans - he I have evidently presented many older philosophies, whereby Pythagorean and Heraclitic philosophemes and Eleatic ways of treatment come to the fore, so that in part the whole matter of the treatise and only the external form belong to Plato, so it would be necessary to distinguish between them, what is peculiar to it or not, or whether those ingredients coincide with one another. In this regard, however, it should be noted that, since the essence of philosophy is the same, every subsequent philosopher will and must incorporate the preceding philosophies into his own - that what is peculiarly belongs to him as he develops them further. Philosophy is not something unique as a work of art, and even in this it is the skill of art that the artist, received from others, takes up and exercises. The artist's invention is the idea of ​​its whole and the judicious application of the means found and prepared; There can be an infinite number of these immediate ideas and peculiar inventions. But philosophy is fundamental one Thoughts, a Essence, and nothing else can be put in place of the earlier true knowledge of it - it must appear just as necessarily in the later ones. I have already noticed that Plato's dialogues are not to be viewed in such a way that he was concerned with asserting various philosophies, nor that Plato's philosophy is an eclectic philosophy that arises from them; rather, it forms the knot in which these abstract one-sided principles are now truly united in a concrete way. In the general conception of the history of philosophy we have already seen that those nodal points must appear in the line of the progression of philosophical formation in which the truth is concrete. The concrete is the unity of different determinations, principles; These, in order to be trained, in order to definitely come before consciousness, must first be established for themselves, developed. This then gives them the form of one-sidedness towards the higher that follows; but this does not destroy them, nor does it leave them lying around, but takes them in as moments of his higher and deeper principle. In Platonic philosophy we see so many different philosophemes from earlier times, but taken up in its principle and united in it. This relationship is that Platonic [23] philosophy proves itself to be a totality of the idea; his, as a result, deals with the principles of the other. Often Plato did nothing other than expose the philosophies of the elderly, and the only part of his peculiar representation is that he expanded them. Be Timaeus According to all evidence, it is an extension of a Pythagorean script that we also still have; overly astute people say that this was first made of Plato. Its extension is also at Parmenides so that its one-sidedness of its principle is canceled.

As is well known, the Platonic Works are dialogues, and we must first speak of the form in which Plato presented his ideas in order to characterize them; on the other hand, however, it is to be deducted from what philosophy as such is with him. The Form of Platonic Philosophy is the dialogical. The beauty of this shape is primarily attractive. One need not assume that it is the best form of philosophical presentation. It is a peculiarity of Plato and worth looking out for as a work of art. Often one sets the perfection in this form.

The scenery and the dramatic belong first of all to the external form; the graceful thing is that there is a scene, an individual cause, there is the dialogues. Plato creates an environment for them of the reality of the place and then of the people, the cause that brought them together, which in itself is very lovely, open and cheerful. We become a place, a plane tree in the Phaedrus (229), to the clear water of the Ilyssos, through which Socrates and Phaedrus pass, to the halls of the grammar schools, to the academy, to a banquet. But this invention of external, more special, more accidental in particular, causes is particularized even more. It is all other people to whom Plato puts his thoughts in their mouths, so that he himself never appears by name and thus completely shifts everything thetical, assertive, and dogmatizing, and we just as little see him appearing as a subject [24] than in history of Thucydides or in Homer. Xenophon sometimes lets himself appear, sometimes he pretends to be intentional everywhere, to justify the teaching and life by examples. With Plato everything is completely objective and plastic; it is an art to move it far from oneself, often to push it out into the third or fourth person (Phaedo). Socrates is the main character, then other persons; many are known stars: Agathon, Zenon, Aristophanes. What belongs to Socrates or Plato of what is presented in the dialogues needs no further investigation. This much is certain that we are able to fully recognize his system from Plato's dialogues.

The noblest (Attic) urbanity of educated people prevails in the tone of the presentation of the personal behavior of the conversations. One learns the subtlety of behavior from it. You see the man of the world who knows how to behave. Politeness doesn't quite express urbanity. Politeness contains something more, an abundance, and testimonies of respect, of privilege, of obligations that are expressed. Urbanity is true courtesy; this is the basis. Urbanity, however, remains at the point of granting the other complete personal freedom of his senses and opinions, - the right to express himself, to everyone with whom one speaks and to express this trait in his counter-expression, contradiction, - his own speaking for to hold a subjective against the utterance of the other, because it is a conversation, people appear as people, not the objective understanding or reason discusses with itself. (Much is what we draw to mere irony.) With all the energy of the utterance, it is always recognized that the other is also an understanding, thinking person. You don't have to assure you of the tripod, or give the other a mouthful. This urbanity is not sparing, it is the greatest frankness; it makes the grace of Plato's dialogues. [25]

This dialogue is not conversation; in it what is said has a coincidental connection and should have it - the matter should not be exhausted. One wants to talk, therein lies randomness; Arbitrariness of ideas is the rule. According to the introduction, the dialogues sometimes also have this kind of conversation, the shape of a chance progression; but later they become the development of the thing, the subjective of the conversation disappears - in Plato there is on the whole a beautiful, consistent dialectical progression. Socrates speaks, draws results, deduces, goes on for himself in his reasoning and only gives him the outward twist to present it in the form of the question; most questions are designed for the other to answer yes or no. The dialogue seems to be the most expedient to present a reasoning because it goes back and forth; this is distributed to different people so that the matter becomes more lively. The disadvantage of dialogue is that progress appears to be arbitrary; the feeling at the end of the dialogue is that things could have been different. In the Platonic dialogues this arbitrariness is apparently also present; then it is removed because the development is only the development of the thing and little is left to the interlocutor. Such persons are plastic persons of conversation; you don't care about your imagination pour placer son mot, to do. As the answers are prescribed when listening to the catechism, so in dialogue it is the same; because the author lets the answerer speak what he (the author) wants. The question is put to the extreme so that only a very simple answer is possible. That is the beauty and the greatness of this dialogic art, which appears at once uninhibited and simple.

It is now connected with this external aspect of personality that Platonic philosophy does not announce itself as a peculiar field where one begins one's own science in one's own sphere (we are not on a peculiar soil), but on admits the usual ideas of education in general (as Socrates in general), partly on the sophists, partly also on earlier philosophers, also reminds in the execution of examples and modes of the common consciousness. We cannot find a systematic exposition of philosophy in this way. It is an inconvenience to be overlooked; it is not a measure of whether the object is exhausted or not. It is a Spirit in, certain standpoint of philosophy; but the spirit does not emerge in the particular form that we require. Plato's philosophical education was not yet ripe for this. It is not yet the time and general education for actual scientific works. The idea was still fresh, new; this first developed into a scientific systematic representation with Aristotle. This lack of Plato is then there is also a deficiency with regard to the concrete definition of the idea itself.

An essential difference of the elements in the presentation of Platonic philosophy in his dialogues is that the mere conceptions of essence and the comprehensively knowing it (in the way of conception and to speak speculatively) are then themselves mixed up in a more unbound way, especially in the former Way to go on to a mythical representation - a mixture which is necessary in this beginning of actual science in its true form. Plato's sublime spirit, which had an intuition or conception of the spirit, permeated this its object with the concept; but he was only just beginning this penetration, did not include the whole reality of it with the concept - or the knowledge that appeared in Plato was not yet realized in him as a whole. Here it happens, partly α), that the conception of essence separates itself from its concept and he confronts it without it being stated that the concept alone is essence. We can be led to accept what he says in the way of [27] the conception of knowledge, of the soul, as philosophical. So we see him speaking of God and again in the conception of the absolute essence of things, but separately, or in a connection that the two seem separate, belongs to the idea, as an unconceived being. β) Partly, for further execution and reality, mere imagination takes the place of going away in the concept - myths, self-formed movements of the imagination or narratives taken up from the sensual imagination, determined by the thought without the latter incorporating them Truth would have permeated, generally determined the spiritual through forms of representation. Sensual phenomena, e.g. of the body, of nature, are recorded and thoughts about them that do not exhaust them - as if they had been thought through and through, the concept going on independently.

Considered in relation to perception, it is for the sake of these two circumstances that either too much or too little is found in Plato's philosophy. α) The older people, so-called Neo-Platonists, find too much, who αα) partly, as they allegorized Greek mythology, presented them as an expression of ideas (which the myths are, however), as well as the ideas in the Platonic myths, which makes them the First made myths into philosophemes; for it is the merit of philosophy that truth is in the form of the concept - ββ) partly what is in the form of the concept in Plato, so for the expression of the absolute essence (the doctrine of essence in the Parmenides for knowledge of God) assumed that Plato himself did not distinguish it from it. In the pure Platonic concepts the idea as such is not canceled or it is not said that these concepts are their essence, or they are more than an idea for Plato, not beings. β) Not enough the newer ones in particular, because these clung to the side of the imagination, saw reality in the imagination. What occurs in Plato [28] that is conceptual or purely speculative applies to them for drifting around in abstract logical concepts or for empty subtleties, whereas that which is expressed in the manner of imagination is considered a philosopher. In Tennemann (vol. II, p.376) and others a stiff tracing back of Platonic philosophy to the forms of our previous metaphysics, e.g. the causes, the proofs of the existence of God.

Plato speaks of simple terms as follows: “Your ultimate truth is God; those are dependent, transitory moments; they have their truth in God ”, and of this he speaks first; so he is an idea.

In order to understand Plato's philosophy from his dialogues, what belongs to the idea, especially where he resorts to myths for the presentation of a philosophical idea, must be distinguished from the philosophical idea itself - and this free form of Platonic presentation, from to pass over to the deepest dialectical investigations into imagination and images, to the description of scenes of the conversation of witty people, also of nature scenes.

Plato praised the mythical portrayal of the philosopheme; this is related to the form of its representation. He lets Socrates proceed from given causes, from the definite ideas of individuals, from the circle of their ideas; thus the manner of imagination (the myth) and the genuinely speculative manner get mixed up. The mythical form of the Platonic Dialogues is what makes these writings attractive, but it is a source of misunderstanding; it is one thing if one considers these myths to be the most excellent. Many philosophemes are brought closer through the mythical representation; that is not the true way of presentation. The philosophemes are thoughts and, in order to be pure, must be presented as such. Myth is always a representation that uses sensual ways, brings in sensual [29] images that are prepared for the idea, not for the thought; it is a powerlessness of the thought that does not yet know how to hold onto itself, does not know how to get along. The mythical representation, as older, is representation where the thought is not yet free: it is the contamination of the thought by sensual form; this cannot express what the thought wants. It is stimulus to attract wise men to engage with content. It's educational. The myth is part of the pedagogy of the human race. Once the concept has grown up, it no longer needs it. Plato often says that it is difficult to comment on this subject and that he therefore wants to set up a myth; However, this is easier.

Plato also often had the manner of imagination. On the one hand it is popular, but on the other hand the danger is inevitable that what belongs only to the idea, not to the thought, is taken for something essential. It is up to us to distinguish what is speculation and what is imagination. If one does not know for oneself what concept, speculative, is, then one can draw a large number of theorems from the dialogues and pass them off as Platonic philosophemes which absolutely only belong to the conception, to the mode of the same. These myths have caused many propositions to be cited as philosophemes which in themselves are not such at all. But when one knows that they belong to the idea as such, one knows that they are not what is essential. For example, Plato makes use of his Timaeuswhen he speaks of the creation of the world, of the form that God formed the world and the demons had certain occupations in it (41); it is spoken entirely in the manner of the imagination. But if this is taken for a philosophical dogma of Plato, that God created the world, that daimonies, higher beings of a spiritual kind, exist and have given God's helping hand in the creation of the world, then this is indeed written literally in Plato, and yet it is not his Philosophy proper. When [30] he says of the human soul that it has a reasonable and an unreasonable part, this is also to be taken in general; but Plato does not claim that the soul is composed of two kinds of substances, two kinds of things. If he presents learning as a re-memory, it can mean that the soul pre-existed before the human being was born. Likewise, when he speaks of the main point of his philosophy, of ideas, the general, as what remains independent, as the patterns of sensible things, then one can easily proceed to think of those ideas as substances in the manner of the modern categories of understanding, who exist in the mind of God or for themselves, as independent, e.g. as angels, beyond reality. In short, everything that is expressed in the manner of imagination is taken in this way by modernists to be philosophy. So one can set up Platonic philosophy in this way, one is justified by Plato's words; but if one knows what the philosophical is, one does not care about such expressions and knows what Plato wanted. However, we must now pass to the consideration of the philosophy of Plato itself.


In the representation of the Platonic philosophy both cannot be done separately, but it must be noted and judged differently from what has happened especially on the latter side. We have 1. to develop Plato's general concept of philosophy and knowledge, 2. to develop the particular parts of it which emerge in him.

The first is that ideawho have favourited Plato of the value of philosophy ever had. In general we see Plato completely permeated by the height of the knowledge of philosophy. He shows enthusiasm for the thought, the thinking of what is in and for itself. If the Cyrenaics posited the relation of beings to the individual consciousness, the Cynics posited immediate freedom as essence, then Plato, on the other hand, posited the self-mediating unity of consciousness and essence, or knowledge. To him philosophy is the essence for man. Everywhere he expresses the loftiest ideas of the dignity of philosophy; she alone is what man has to look for - the deepest feeling and the most decided consciousness to regard everything else as less. He speaks of it with the greatest enthusiasm; nowadays we dare not speak of it like that. Philosophy is his greatest possession. Among a multitude of passages about this, I will start with one from the Timaeus to: »The knowledge of the most excellent things begins with the eyes. The distinctive visible day and night, the months and revolutions of the planets have produced the knowledge of time and the investigation of the nature of the whole has given us, from which we have then gained philosophy; and a greater good than them, given by God to men, has neither come nor will it ever come. "(47)

Most famous and at the same time most disreputable is what he said about this in the republic says and how he expresses his consciousness - how much this contradicts the common ideas of the people. It concerns the relation of philosophy to the state and is all the more conspicuous because it expresses the relation of philosophy to reality. For even if it is otherwise valued, it still remains in the thoughts of individuals; but here it concerns the constitution, government, reality. After Plato had Socrates expose the true state there, he has this presentation interrupted by Glaucon, who demands that he show how it is possible for such a state to exist. Socrates does a lot of talking back and forth, does not want to go about it, tries to excuse himself in order to be released from it, claims that he is not obliged to also explain how to put it into reality if he gives the description of what is just be; but one must state that which, if not [32] perfection, would make approximation possible. At last, when it was penetrated, he said: “So it should be said, even if it should be showered with a flood of laughter and complete unbelief. So unless either the philosophers rule the states or the now so-called kings and rulers philosophize truly and completely, and so rulers and philosophy collapse into one and the many kinds of senses that now turn separately to one or the other exist there, O friend Glaucon, no end to their evils for the peoples, nor, I think, for the human race in general; and this state I spoke of will not be created and see the light of the sun "until that happens. "This is it," he adds, "which I hesitated to say for so long, because I know that it goes so much against the common idea." Plato had Glaucon reply: "Socrates, you uttered such a word and thing that you have to imagine that there will be a lot of people, not bad people, throwing off their coats and reaching for the nearest weapon and attacking you all together in unison; and if you do not know how to appease them with reasons, you will find it hard to atone. "

Plato asks philosophy par excellence to the rulers of the peoples, here states the necessity of this connection between philosophy and government. As far as this requirement is concerned, that is what must be said. To govern means that the real state is determined, that action is taken in it according to the nature of the matter. This includes awareness of the concept of the thing; then reality is brought into agreement with the concept, the idea comes into existence. The other thing is that the basis of history is different from the basis of philosophy. In the story [33] the idea is supposed to be accomplished; God rules the world, the idea is the absolute power that arises. History is the idea that comes about naturally, not with the consciousness of the idea - with thoughts, of course, but with specific purposes, circumstances. General ideas of what is right, moral, and pleasing to God are acted upon; the idea is thus realized, but by mixing thoughts, concepts with immediate particular purposes. This has to be too; the idea is produced on the one hand by the thought, on the other hand by the means of the agents. The idea comes about in the world, there is no need; it is not necessary that the rulers have the idea. The means often seem to be the opposite of the idea, which does no harm. One must know what action is: action is the driving of the subject as such for special purposes. All these ends are only means of producing the idea because you the absolute power is.

It can seem a great presumption that the rulers should be philosophers, or that the government of states should be placed in the hands of the philosophers. In order to judge this utterance, however, one must have in mind what was meant by philosophy in the Platonic sense, in the sense of the time, what was included in philosophy. The word philosophy has had different meanings at different times. There was a time when someone who did not believe in ghosts or the devil was called a philosopher. If such ideas are over at all, it does not occur to anyone to call someone a philosopher for this reason. The English call this philosophy what we call experimental physics, chemistry; A philosopher is someone who makes such experiments, has theoretical knowledge of chemistry and mechanical engineering. If we speak of Platonic philosophy and see what is grasped in it, philosophy [34] is mixed here with the consciousness of the supersensible, which is our religious consciousness; it is the consciousness of what is in and for itself truthful and right, the consciousness and the validity of general purposes in the state. In the whole of history from the migration of peoples on, when the Christian religion became the general religion, it was nothing else than the consciousness of the supersensible, the supersensible realm, which was initially for itself, this in and for itself general To also imagine the truth in reality, to determine reality accordingly. This was the more distant business of education in general. A state, a government, a state constitution of modern times is therefore something completely different, has a completely different basis than a state of older times and especially the time in which Plato lived. We generally find that at that time the Greeks were utterly dissatisfied, disliked, condemned the democratic constitution and the state of their time that arose from it - a state that preceded the collapse of this constitution. All philosophers declared themselves against the democracies of the Greek states - a constitution where the punishment of the generals and so on took place. It is precisely in it that it should most likely be about the best of the state; but it was random arbitrariness, corrected at the moment by predominant individualities. Aristides, Themistocles, Marcus Aurelius are virtuosos. The purpose of the state, the general best, is immanent and violent in our states quite differently than in earlier times. The legal condition, the condition of the courts, of the constitution, of the spirit is so fixed in itself that it is only possible to decide for the moment; the question is what and whether something depends on the individual. An example of what a philosopher on the throne could do would be Marcus Aurelius; but only private acts of his are to be cited; the Roman Empire has not gotten any better. Frederick II has been called the philosophical king. He was king and studied [35] Wolffian metaphysics and French philosophy and verse; he was such a philosopher after his time. Philosophy seems to have been a particularly private affair of his particular inclination and different from the fact that he was king. But he is also a philosophical king in the sense that he had made a very general purpose, the well-being, the best of his state his principle in his actions and in all institutions, against treaties with other states, against the particular rights in his country; He has subjected these to general purposes in and of themselves. If something like this later became a custom, then the following princes are no longer called philosophers, even if the same principle exists and the government, and the institutions primarily, are built on it.

The result of this is that when Plato says that philosophers should rule, he means that the whole state is determined by general principles. This is much more done in modern states; general principles are essentially the bases of modern states - that is, not exactly all, but most of them. Some are already at this stage, others are fighting over it; but it is generally accepted that such principles should constitute the substance of administration, of government. The demand of Plato is thus present in substance. What we Calling philosophy, movement in pure thought, concerns the form, which is something peculiar; but on this form alone it is not based on the fact that the universal, freedom and law are not made a principle in a state.

In the republic Plato continues to speak, in a picture, in a kind of myth, of the difference between the state of philosophical education and the lack of philosophy; it is a long parable that is strange and brilliant. The idea he uses is [36] this: Imagine an underground dwelling like a cave with a long entrance that is open to the light through which a faint light enters. Its inhabitants are forged and with immobile necks, so that they can only see the background of the cave. A torch burns from above, far behind her back. In this space there is the path and at the same time a low wall. And behind this wall, towards the light, there are other people who themselves do not protrude over the wall, but over it, like the puppets over a puppet theater, carry, lift, let themselves be moved and all kinds of pictures, statues of people and animals soon speak to one another and soon be silent; so that those smiths alone can see the shadows of it falling on the opposite wall. They would take these shadows, which look different one way or the other, for the true beings; they themselves are unable to see, however, and what those others say to one another who carry them around they hear through the echo and take it for the speeches of these shadows. If it happened that someone was loosed and had to turn his neck so that he could see things for himself now, he would believe that what he is now hereditary are unsubstantial dreams, but those shadows are true. And if they even pulled someone up to the light itself from their dungeon, they would be blinded by the light and see nothing and would hate the one who pulled them to the light as someone who took away their truth and on the other hand only pain and damage have prepared.

Plato speaks with energy, with all the pride of science - there is nothing to be found of the so-called modesty of science compared to other sciences, nor of man towards God - with full awareness of how close and one with God human reason is. One tolerates reading it from Plato, an old man, as something that is not present.

a) This myth is related to the peculiar conception of Platonic philosophy: namely, this determination of the distinction between the sensible world and how the conception of human beings works against the consciousness of the supersensible, against the consciousness of the idea. And now we have to speak of that in more detail: of the Nature of knowing, the Ideas in general - Platonic philosophy itself. For him philosophy in general is the science of what is in itself universal. He expresses this in contrast to the individual as follows: "Ideas", always recurring and coming back to them.

Plato determined the philosophers more closely than those “who are eager to see the truth. - This is correct; but how do you explain it? - Socrates: I don't tell everyone this; but you will agree with me on this. - in what? - That since the just is opposed to the unjust, there are two. - Why not? - Likewise the beautiful to the ugly, the good and the bad, and likewise every other eidos; is opposite, but each of these is one in itself. On the other hand, through the communion with the actions or bodies and with the reciprocity of the relationship of the two to one another, all half appears (phantazomena) each as a lot. - You say right. - I now differentiate on the one hand the onlookers and the artsy and practical people, on the other hand those of whom we are talking, who are correctly called philosophers alone. - How do you mean? - Namely those who like to look and hear (philotheamones kai philêkooi), loving to see and hear beautiful voices and colors and shapes, and everything that consists of the like; but the thought of beautiful nature itself is incapable of seeing and loving. - That's the way it is. - But who are able to go to the beautiful itself and find it for themselves (kath 'hauto) to see [38], are these not rare? - Yes sir. - Anyone who considers beautiful things or just actions to be beautiful, but does not understand beauty and justice itself, does not consider them to be either (nomizôn), even if someone draws him on to the knowledge (gnôsin, Thoughts) of the same leads, can follow, - do you think that he brings life in an awake or a dream state? ”So they are the non-philosophers, they are like dreamers. 'You see. Isn't dreaming this when someone, in his sleep or also while waking, takes something similar to something ", the beautiful or the just," only like something not like him, but rather the thing itself, which it looks like? - Of course I would say of such a person that he dreams. - So, on the other hand, is the watchful one who considers the beautiful or just to be what is, knows how to distinguish between it and that which only has a part in it (metechonta), and do not confuse them with one another. "

Let us stop at the expression "idea" for now. “When Plato spoke of tableliness and cupiness (trapezotêta kai kyathotêta), so said Diogenes, the Cynic: I see a table and a cup, but not the table and cupiness. Right, replied Plato; because eyes with which one sees the table and mug (theôreitai), you have, but with what you can see sophistication and cupidity - you do not have the spirit «(noun ouk echeis).

What Socrates began was accomplished by Plato. He only recognizes the general, the idea, the good as essential. By presenting his ideas, Plato opened up the intellectual world. It is not beyond reality, in heaven, in another place, but it is real world; as with Leukippus: the ideal is brought closer to reality, not metaphysically. But that which is in the world is only what is in and for itself universal [39]. The essence of ideas is the view that what exists in the senses is not the true, but only the general which is determined in itself - the intellectual world is the truth, worth knowing, generally the eternal, in and for itself divine. The differences are not existing, but only temporary. The absolute of Plato, as that which is one in itself and identical with itself, is concrete in itself; it is a movement, a going back into oneself and eternal being with oneself. The love of ideas is what Plato calls enthusiasm.

In this definition of philosophy we see at once what the Platonic Ideas so much discussed are. The idea is nothing other than the general, and that this general is not taken as the formally general, as things only participate in it or (as we put it) are only properties of things, but in that this general is taken as that in and for self-being, as the being is taken as that which only is, which only has truth. The misunderstanding of the Platonic Ideas goes on two sides: that a for thinking which is formal and only considers the sensual to be reality. For such a representation there is no being other than that which is sensual or as sensual. When Plato speaks of the universal as the essence, it occurs α) that the universal is present to us only as a property, or that β) Plato also takes this universal as substance, as a being in itself - they hold it Shadow (the sensual) for true; that α) this universal is neither a property nor, β) also a mere thought that is in us, in our understanding, but γ) the being, substance outside us. If Plato then uses the expression that sensible things are similar to what is in and for themselves, or that the idea is a pattern, a model, then these ideas become a kind of things that are in another understanding, in an extra-worldly reason Far from us, pictures are - like the artist's example, according to whom he works on a given matter and impresses it on it - detached from this sensual, objective reality, which counts for truth, as well as from the reality of the individual Consciousness. They are α) not exactly things that lie elsewhere, that we just don't see, but imagined, images; β) that whose original conceptions they are, their subject, steps outside of consciousness; it is itself only presented as something other in consciousness.

The second The misunderstanding that prevails with regard to ideas is when the idea is not transferred outside of our consciousness, as if it were ideals of our reason which either our reason needs, but their productions have no reality, or something that cannot be attained . Just as there the beyond is an otherworldly representation, so here it is our reason, as such a beyond of reality. If they are also taken in such a way that in us they are the forms of reality, intuition, it is again a misunderstanding, as if they were of an aesthetic nature; so that they are determined as intellectual perceptions which must give themselves immediately and which either belong to a happy genius or to a state of delight and enthusiasm - imaginations of the imagination. But this is not the meaning of Plato and of truth. They are not immediately in consciousness, but they are in knowledge. They are intuitions or immediate insofar as they are the knowledge that is summarized as a result in its simplicity; or the immediate intuition is only the moment of its simplicity. Man Has therefore they are not, but they are brought about through knowledge in the spirit. Enthusiasm is its first informal generation, but recognition only brings it to light in a reasonably educated form. But they are real as well; they are, and they are alone being.

Plato therefore first distinguishes science, [41] the knowledge of what is in truth, from what is mine. "Such thinking (dianoian) as a knower, we rightly like knowledge (gnômên) call; but the other opinion (doxa). Knowing is about what is; what is mean is opposed to it, but in such a way that its content is not nothing (this is ignorance), something is meant. Opinion is the middle thing between ignorance and science, its content a mixture of being and nothing. The sensual objects, the object of opinion, the individual only partake of the beautiful, the good, the just, the general; but it is just as ugly, bad, unjust, and so on. The double is also halved. The individual is not just big or small, light or heavy, and one of these opposites; but each individual is both one and the other. Such a mixture of being and non-being is the particular, the object of opinion "- a mixture in which the opposites have not dissolved into the general. This is the speculative idea of ​​knowing. The mode of our ordinary consciousness belongs to mine.

b) Relation of knowledge as the general to the individual consciousness. Before we turn even more closely to the consideration of the content (object) of knowledge (that which is in itself), we must first consider more closely the subjective manner of it (how cognition or knowledge as such, according to Plato, is, exists, i.e. is in consciousness), and then the way he is is or appears in the idea, as soul, - general knowledge as individual, belonging to the idea. And this is where the mixing of the concept and the concept occurs.

α) The source through which we become conscious of the divine is the same as that of Socrates. The spirit of man itself is that source; it contains the essential itself [42] in itself. In order to get to know the divine, one must bring it to consciousness out of oneself. Plato also says that the formation for this knowledge is not learning as such, but that the basis is immanent in the spirit, the soul of man; so that what he knows he develops out of himself. This has already been noted with Socrates. The discussion of this way occurred among the Socratics in general in the form of the question whether virtue could be taught. And then, in relation to Protagoras, the Sophists, whether sensation is true - which then has the closest connection with the content of science and with the distinction between it and opinion. What we seem to be learning is none other than Recall. And it is an object to which Plato often came back; He dealt excellently with this question in the Menon. With regard to learning in general, he asserts that nothing can actually be learned, but rather that learning is only a memory of what we already have, know - a memory to which only the embarrassment into which consciousness is brought, the excitation (cause) is (84).

Or Plato immediately gives a speculative meaning to that question, which is about the essence of knowledge, not the empirical view of acquiring knowledge. That is to say, learning, according to the immediate conception of it, expresses the acceptance of a stranger into the thinking consciousness - a way of mechanical connection and filling of an empty space with things that are foreign and indifferent to this space itself. Such an external relation of addition, where the soul as tabula rasa appears (as in the living: the addition of particles), does not fit the nature of the spirit (is dead), which is subjectivity, unity, being and staying with oneself. But Plato presents the true nature of consciousness, that it is spirit, that in itself that which is an object for it, or what it becomes for it. This is the concept of the [43] truly universal in its movement; the general, the species, is in itself its own becoming. It is this to become for itself what it is in itself; what it will be, it is already before; it is the beginning of its movement, in which it does not emerge from itself. The mind is the absolute species; there is nothing for him that he is not in himself; His movement is only the constant return to himself. According to this, learning is this movement so that something strange does not come into him, but that only his own being becomes for him or that he comes to consciousness of it. (What has not yet learned is the soul, the consciousness, presented as natural being.) What excites him to science is this appearance and the confusion of it, that his essence is to him as something other than the negative of himself - one Mode of appearance that contradicts its essence; for he has or is the inner certainty that he is all reality. By eliminating this appearance of otherness, he grasps the objective, that is, he immediately becomes conscious of himself and thus comes to science. Ideas of things come from outside; to be sure, of the individual, temporal, transitory - but not the general, thoughts. The true has its root in the spirit itself and belongs to its nature; this then rejects all authority.

In one sense, memory is an awkward expression, namely that of reproducing an idea that one has already had at another time. But remembrance also has another meaning given by etymology, namely: making oneself inward, going into oneself; this is the deep thought sense of the word. In this sense one can say that the knowledge of the general is nothing but a memory, a going into oneself, that what we initially see in an external way is determined as a manifold - that we make this into something inward, into one Generally by going within ourselves, [44] thus bringing our inner being to consciousness. With Plato, however, as cannot be denied, the expression of memory often has the empirical, first sense.

This true concept, that this is what consciousness in itself is, is now presented in part by Plato in the manner of imagination and mythically. It has already been mentioned that he calls learning a memory. That this is what he shows in the Menon to a slave who had received no instruction (82-86): Socrates asks him and lets him answer his own opinion, without teaching him anything or assuring him (teaching) anything as truth, and thereby finally getting him to utter one geometric theorem of the ratio of the diameter of a square to the side of the same. The slave only calls science out of himself, so that it seems that he only remembers something he already knew but had forgotten. If Plato calls this emergence of science out of consciousness a memory, the determination comes from the fact that this knowledge has already actually been in this consciousness, that is, that the individual consciousness not only in itself, according to its essence, the content of knowledge, but also as this individual consciousness, not as general, has already possessed it. But this moment of detail belongs only to the idea; this man is the sensual universal; for memory relates to this as sensuous this, not as general. Memory belongs to the idea, is not a thought. The essence of the emergence of science is therefore here mixed with the individual, with the idea. Here the cognition occurs in the form of the soul, as the being in itself, the one, since the soul is only a moment of the spirit. And here Plato passes over into the mythical (he continues to develop this mythically), into an idea whose content no longer has the pure meaning of the general but of the individual.

He thus presents that being-in-itself of the spirit in the form of a [45] anticipation in time; the truth must have been for us at another time. But at the same time it should be noted that he does not give this as a philosophical doctrine, but in the form of a legend (myth) which he received from priests and priestesses who understand what is divine. Pindar and other divine men tell something similar. According to these legends, the soul of man is immortal and now ceases to be what is called dying and comes back into existence (palin gignesthai), but by no means go under. If now the soul is immortal and often emerges again (transmigration of souls) and what is both here and in Hades - in the unconscious - and has seen everything, then no more learning takes place and it only remembers what it already has knows - what only the soul once looked at. This is an allusion to Egyptian. People reach for the sensual certainty: Plato stated, accepted. Plato did not state anything about that at all. It does not belong to philosophy at all, even explicitly not to his; afterwards even more so from God.

β) Im Phaedrus then this myth is carried out further and more brilliantly; He brings about this ordinary sense of remembrance that the spirit of man saw in the past that which his consciousness develops from what is truthful and in-and-for-itself. One of the main efforts of Plato is to show that the spirit, the soul, the thinking is in and for itself and that this determination is then given the form in which the assertion lies in the assertion that science is not learned, only is a memory that which is present in the spirit, in the soul as such. That the soul is thinking and thinking is free for itself, has with the ancients, but especially with the Platonic idea, a direct connection with what we are Immortality of the soul call. in the [46] Phaedrus he speaks of it to show that Eros is a divine frenzy and given to us for the greatest happiness. It is an enthusiasm which here has a powerful, all predominant direction towards the idea - consciousness, knowledge of the ideal, not looking, not the enthusiasm of the breast, of feeling. He said he had to separate the nature of the divine and human soul in order to show the Eros. “The first is that the soul is immortal. Because what moves itself is immortal, imperishable; but what has its movement from another is ephemeral. What moves itself is principle; for it has its origin and beginning in himself and from no other. Nor can it stop moving; for only that ceases what its movement has from another. ”So Plato first developed the simple concept of the soul as that which moves itself, the moment of the spirit in this respect. The real life of the spirit in and of itself is the consciousness of the absoluteness and freedom of the self. The immortal is not subject to change.

When we speak of the immortality of the soul, we often and usually have the idea that the soul is like a physical thing in front of us that has properties, a thing with all kinds of properties that is changed - the properties independently of it. Thinking is also among these, and thinking is so determined as a thing as if it could perish or cease. That is the interest of the imagination in this question. In Plato the immortality of the soul is directly related to the fact that the soul is the thinker; so that thinking is not a quality of the soul. We think that the soul can be, can exist without having imagination, thinking, etc.; and the imperishable of the soul is considered insofar as the imperishable [47] of a thing, as one which is thus represented as a being. With Plato, on the other hand, the determination of the immortality of the soul is of great importance insofar as thinking is not a property of the soul, but its substance, so that the soul itself is this. It is like the body: the body is heavy, this is its substance; Difficulty is not quality; that that it is is only insofar as it is heavy. If one takes away the heaviness, the body no longer exists; if one takes away thinking, the soul no longer exists. Now thinking is the activity of the universal; the general, however, is not an abstraction, is reflecting on oneself in oneself, equating oneself with oneself. This happens in all ideas. Since thinking is this universal, which is reflected in itself, to be in itself with itself, it is this identity with itself; but this is the unchangeable, the immortal. Change is that one becomes the other, is not in the other with itself. The soul, on the other hand, is maintaining itself in the other; e.g. in perception it has to do with other things, with external matter, and is at the same time with itself. Immortality is not as important to Plato as it is to us from a religious point of view. With Plato it is connected with the nature of thinking, with the inner freedom of thinking, with the determination that constitutes the basis of what is outstanding in Platonic philosophy, with this supersensible ground, the consciousness that Plato founded. So the first is that the soul is immortal.

To expound the idea of ​​the soul, he continues, is a long and divine inquiry; but a resemblance of this is humanly and more easily said. - Here now follows the myth (allegory), in which it is a bit colorful and inconsistent. He says: "The soul is like the combined strength of a cart and a wagoner." This picture does not appeal to us. "The horses now" (instincts) "of the gods and the carters are themselves good and made of good things. But our ruling being "(the carter)" first controls the reins; but then one of the horses is beautiful and good and (consists) of such, but the other is opposite and (consists) of opposite. This makes it difficult and stubborn to steer them. How they are now called a mortal and immortal living thing is to be tried to be said. All soul cares (epimeleitai) about inanimate things and wanders through the whole sky, from an idea (kind, eidos) merging into the other. When it is perfect and winged, it is erect (meteôroporei, has lofty thoughts) and arranges (dioikei) the whole world. But its wings sink, the soul drifts and sinks until it has something solid (stereou) has attained; so she assumes an earthly body that moves itself through the power of that, and the whole is called a living thing (zôon, Animal), a soul and a body joined together, and has the name of the mortal. «One is the soul as thinking, the being in and for oneself; the other is the connection with a matter. This transition from thinking to physicality is very difficult and too difficult for the ancients to grasp; we shall see more of this in Aristotle. From what has been said one could infer the reason for the idea given of the Platonic Philosopheme, that the soul already existed for itself before this life and then falls down into matter, unites with it, taints itself with it, and that its Determination is to leave matter again. The connection that the spiritual realizes and embodies itself out of itself is a point which the ancients did not discuss in depth. They have two abstractions, the soul and the matter, and the connection is only expressed in the form of an apostasy of the soul.

“But the immortal,” continues Plato, “if we do not find it after a knowing thought (oud 'ex henos logou lelogismenou), [49] but according to the idea (plattomen), if we, not understanding, still sufficiently comprehending, pronounce God, - the immortal life of God is that which has a body and a soul, but which are created together (naturalized) for ever (tone aei chronon sympephykota) «: A body and a soul which are always one in and for themselves, are not made that way outwardly. (Soul and body are both abstractions; life, however, is the unity of both, and God is expressed as the essence of the conception; its nature is this, soul and body unseparated in one to have; But this is reason, the form of which - the soul - and its content are inseparably one in themselves.) This is a great definition of God, a great idea which, by the way, is nothing other than the definition of more recent times: the identity of objectivity and subjectivity, inseparability of the ideal and the real, of the soul and the body. The mortal, the finite, is correctly determined by Plato as that whose existence, reality, is not absolutely adequate to the idea or, more specifically, to subjectivity.

Now Plato goes on to state (246-251) what happens in the life of the divine being (describes the spectacle of what the soul has in front of it) and how the wings fall from the soul: the chariots of the gods drive along in rows ; the general Jupiter leads the line, driving on his winged chariot. He is followed by the army of other gods and goddesses, arranged in eleven parts, and each performing his business, they perform the most glorious and blissful spectacles. The colorless, shapeless and unfeeling substance of the soul needs the thought only as a spectator; and that is how true science comes into being. There she sees what is (to on), and lives in contemplation of the truth by following the circle (of ideas) that leads back into itself. In this circle (of the gods) righteousness, temperance (sôphrosynê) and science, not of what we call things, but of what is in truth in and for itself (to ontôs on[50]). - This is now expressed as an event. “When the soul comes back from this contemplation, the carter puts the horses at the manger, feeds them with ambrosia and soaks them with nectar. This is the life of the gods. But other souls, through the mistakes of the carter or the horses, get into a tumult, emerge from those heavenly regions, cease to see the truth, and feed on the fodder of opinion and fall to earth; and depending on whether one has seen one more or less, the higher or lower it comes here. In this state, however, she retains a memory of what she has seen, and when she sees something beautiful, just, and so on, she becomes beside herself with enthusiasm. The wings gain strength, and the soul remembers its former state, in which it did not see something beautiful, something just, etc., but beauty and justice itself. «The life of the gods is therefore for the soul; in the particular beauty it is reminded of the general. This lies in the fact that in the soul, as something in and for itself, the idea of ​​the beautiful, the good, the just as that which is in and for itself, is in and for itself universal. This constitutes the basis, the general basis of the Platonic conception.

We see here the sense in which Plato speaks of science as a memory. He says it expressly that this is only spoken in parables and similaires, not, as theologians usually take seriously, to ask whether the soul pre-existed before it was born, and even where. It cannot be said of Plato that he had this belief, this opinion. There is no question of it with him, in the sense in which it was said with them: nothing of an apostasy from a perfect state - that man has to regard this life as an imprisonment; but he is conscious that this is only a simile idea. What he expresses as truth is that consciousness [51] in himself is in reason the divine essence and life; that man looks at and recognizes it in pure thought and this recognition itself is this heavenly stay and movement.

Knowing then appears more definitely in its form as a soul where there is talk of its immortality. in the Phaedo Plato elaborated on these ideas of the immortality of the soul. what in Phaedrus is definitely different as myth and truth and also appears so, this appears less so in the Phaedo, the famous dialogue in which Plato lets Socrates speak of the immortality of the soul. That Plato linked this investigation to the story of the death of Socrates has always seemed admirable. Nothing seems more appropriate than to put the conviction of immortality in the mouth of those who are about to leave life and to animate that conviction through this scene, as such dying mutually through them. At the same time it must be noted that what is appropriate must also have this meaning, that a dying person is only actually, befitting, to deal with himself instead of the general, with this certainty of himself as one as this as with the truth. For this reason we are least likely to meet here separately the mode of representation and concept; but this representation is far from sinking into this coarseness which the soul imagines as a thing and asks a thing about its duration or its existence. We find Socrates saying in this sense that the striving for wisdom, the only business of philosophy, the body, and what relates to the body, is an obstacle, because sensual perception is nothing pure as it is in itself, shows and what is true can be recognized by removing the soul from the physical. For justice, beauty and the like are only that which is in truth, that to which all change and [52] decline is alien; and it is not looked at through the body, but only in the soul.

Even in this separation we see the essence of the soul not viewed in a material way of being, but as the universal. Even more in the following, whereby Plato proves immortality. A main thought here is that which has already been considered, that the soul already existed before this life, because learning is only a memory, and where this lies, that the soul in itself is what it becomes for itself. There is no need to think of the bad idea of ​​innate ideas - an expression that contains a natural being of the ideas, as if the thoughts were partly already fixed, partly had a natural existence that was not first brought about by the movement of the spirit . Mainly, however, Plato defines immortality as the fact that the compound is subject to dissolution and decline, whereas the simple can in no way be dissolved and dispersed; but whatever is equal and the same to itself, be simple. These simple things, the beautiful and the good, the same, are incapable of all change, on the other hand that in which these generalities are, people, things, etc., are the changeable, that which can be perceived by the senses, but that which is nonsensible: the soul therefore, which is in thought and turns to this as something related to it and deals with it, must therefore also be taken to be of a simple nature.

Here it becomes clear again that Plato does not take simplicity as the simplicity of a thing, not as this simplicity, e.g. of a chemical substance, etc., something that can no longer be represented as distinct in itself - the empty abstract identity or an abstract generality, the simple as a being. [53] But the general itself is finite in the form of a being. E.g. “a harmony that we hear is nothing else than something general, something simple that is a unity of different things. But this harmony is bound to a sensual thing and disappears with it like the music of the flute with it. "Plato shows that the soul is not a harmony in this way either; for this sensual harmony is only after the thing, a consequence of it, but the harmony of the soul in and of itself is above all sensual being. The sensual harmony has different degrees of mood, but the harmony of the soul has no quantitative differences.

From this it is evident that Plato preserves the essence of the soul in general and does not place its truth and being in sensual detail and that the immortality of the soul cannot be taken from him in the sense of the idea in which we take it as a single thing . If the myth continues to occur about the sojourn of the soul after death on another, more brilliant and glorious earth, we have seen above what kind of quality this heaven is.

γ) What now the education and Formation of the soul is concerned, this is related to the foregoing. One need not, however, think of Plato's idealism as subjective idealism, as that bad idealism, as it has been presented in recent times, as if man learn nothing at all, is not determined externally, but all ideas are generated from the subject. It is often said that idealism is that the individual creates all his ideas, even the most immediate, from himself, posits everything from himself. However, this is an unhistorical, completely wrong idea; just as this crude conception defines idealism, so there were in fact no idealists among philosophers. Platonic idealism is also quite distant from this figure.

As regards learning in particular, Plato presupposes that what is truly universal, the idea, the good, the beautiful, is previously indigenous to the spirit itself and develops only out of it. In its republic (7th book) he speaks in connection with what I have already mentioned about how education and learning are structured. He says, "We must learn from science and learning (paideias) hold this that they are not made "(they should not be imagined)" as some say "(he means the Sophists)," who speak of education as if knowledge were not contained in the soul but as if science were placed in the soul as sight was placed in blind eyes, "as one stabbed the star. This idea that knowledge comes entirely from outside is found in more recent times in very abstract, crude philosophers of experience who have asserted that everything that man knows of the divine is true, comes into him through education, through habituation, the soul, the spirit, is only the very indefinite possibility. The extreme is then the revelation, where everything is given from outside. In the Protestant religion this crude idea is absent in its abstraction; faith essentially includes the witness of the spirit, i.e. that the individual subjective spirit in and for itself contains, posits, and makes this determination in the form of a; External, only given comes to him. So Plato speaks against that idea. He says (this refers to the above myth, which merely introduces): Reason teaches that the immanent faculty of his soul resides in everyone; he has the organ with which he learns. Namely, as if the eye could not do otherwise than to turn with the whole body from the darkness to the light, so one must also with the whole soul be turned away from what is happening, turned away from that what is accidental, an accidental idea and sensation; it must be turned to what is, to beings, until it is able to withstand this and to see the clarity, the brightness of beings. But this being, we say, is good. Its art would be the art of teaching. "Teaching is only the art of leading the soul out (around) - in which way one would be turned around most easily and effectively - not in order to use his vision (empoiêsaito put it in), but - while he already has it, but has not been properly turned around and does not see the objects he is supposed to see - now to effect this. The other virtues of the soul are closer to the body; they are not in the soul beforehand, but come into it through practice and habit ”and can thereby be strengthened or weakened. "The thinking (to phronêsai) on the other hand, as a divine, never loses its power, and through the way of leading it only becomes good or bad. "