The profit reaped by Aristotle from the connexion seems equally doubtful. Tradition tells us that enormous sums of money were spent in aid of his scientific researches, and a whole army of crown servants deputed to collect information287 bearing on his zoological studies. Modern explorations, however, have proved that the conquests of Alexander, at least, did not, as has been pretended, supply him with any new specimens; nor does the knowledge contained in his extant treatises exceed what could be obtained either by his own observations or by private enquiries. At the same time we may suppose that his services were handsomely rewarded, and that his official position at the Macedonian Court gave him numerous opportunities for conversing with the grooms, huntsmen, shepherds, fishermen, and others, from whom most of what he tells us about the habits of animals was learned. In connexion with the favour enjoyed by Aristotle, it must be mentioned as a fresh proof of his amiable character, that he obtained the restoration of Stageira, which had been ruthlessly destroyed by Philip, together with the other Greek cities of the Chalcidic peninsula.Possibly the world may move, and possibly it may be at rest. Possibly it may be round, or else it may be triangular, or have any other shape. Possibly the sun and the stars may be extinguished at setting, and be lighted afresh at their rising: it is, however, equally possible that they may only disappear under the earth and reappear again, or that their rising and setting is due to yet other causes. Possibly the waxing and waning of the moon may be caused by the moon’s revolving; or it may be due to the atmospheric change, or to an actual increase or decrease in the moon’s size, or to some other cause. Possibly the moon may shine with borrowed light, or it may shine with its own, experience supplying us with instances of bodies which give their own light, and of others which have their light borrowed. From these and such like statements it appears that questions of natural science in themselves have no value for Epicurus. Whilst granting that only one natural explanation of phenomena is generally possible, yet in any particular case it is perfectly indifferent which explanation is adopted.169 归一 After resolving virtue into knowledge of pleasure, the next questions which would present themselves to so keen a thinker were obviously, What is knowledge? and What is pleasure? The Theaetêtus is chiefly occupied with a discussion of the various answers already given to the first of these enquiries. It seems, therefore, to come naturally next after the Protagoras; and our conjecture receives a further confirmation when we find that here also a large place is given to the opinions of the Sophist after whom that dialogue is named; the chief difference being that the points selected for controversy are of a speculative rather than of a practical character. There is, however, a close connexion between the argument by which Protagoras had endeavoured to prove that all mankind are teachers of virtue, and his more general principle that man is the measure of all things. And perhaps it was the more obvious difficulties attending the latter view which led Plato, after some hesitation, to reject the former along206 with it. In an earlier chapter we gave some reasons for believing that Protagoras did not erect every individual into an arbiter of truth in the sweeping sense afterwards put upon his words. He was probably opposing a human to a theological or a naturalistic standard. Nevertheless, it does not follow that Plato was fighting with a shadow when he pressed the Protagorean dictum to its most literal interpretation. There are plenty of people still who would maintain it to that extent. Wherever and whenever the authority of ancient traditions is broken down, the doctrine that one man’s opinion is as good as another’s immediately takes its place; or rather the doctrine in question is a survival of traditionalism in an extremely pulverised form. And when we are told that the majority must be right—which is a very different principle from holding that the majority should be obeyed—we may take it as a sign that the loose particles are beginning to coalesce again. The substitution of an individual for a universal standard of truth is, according to Plato, a direct consequence of the theory which identifies knowledge with sense-perception. It is, at any rate, certain that the most vehement assertors of the former doctrine are also those who are fondest of appealing to what they and their friends have seen, heard, or felt; and the more educated among them place enormous confidence in statistics. They are also fond of repeating the adage that an ounce of fact is worth a ton of theory, without considering that theory alone can furnish the balance in which facts are weighed. Plato does not go very deep into the rationale of observation, nor in the infancy of exact science was it to be expected that he should. He fully recognised the presence of two factors, an objective and a subjective, in every sensation, but lost his hold on the true method in attempting to trace a like dualism through the whole of consciousness. Where we should distinguish between the mental energies and the physical processes underlying them, or between the207 elements respectively contributed to every cognition by immediate experience and reflection, he conceived the inner and outer worlds as two analogous series related to one another as an image to its original.
色万 After explaining at considerable length what Being is not, Aristotle now proceeds to ascertain what it is. He tells us that just as all number qua number must be either odd or even, so all Being qua Being must have certain universal attributes. These he sets himself to discover. When Descartes long afterwards entered on a somewhat similar inquiry, he fell back on the facts of his own individual consciousness. Aristotle, on the contrary, appeals to the common consciousness of mankind as embodied in ordinary language. In how many senses do we say that a thing is? The first answer is contained in his famous Ten Categories.239 These342 are not what some have supposed them to be, summa genera of existence, but summa genera of predication. In other words, they are not a classification of things, but of the information which it is possible to receive about a single thing, more especially about the richest and most concrete thing known to us—a human being. If we want to find out all about a thing we ask, What is it? Of what sort? How large? To what does it belong? Where and when can we find it? What does it do? What happens to it? And if the object of our investigations be a living thing, we may add, What are its habits and dispositions? The question has been raised, how Aristotle came to think of these ten particular categories, and a wonderful amount of rubbish has been written on the subject, while apparently no scholar could see what was staring him in the face all the time, that Aristotle got them by collecting all the simple forms of interrogation supplied by the Greek language,240 and writing out their most general expressions. No one will deny that the life of the Greeks was stained with foul vices, and that their theory sometimes fell to the level of their practice. No one who believes that moral truth, like all truth, has been gradually discovered, will wonder at this phenomenon. If moral conduct is a function of social life, then, like other functions, it will be subject, not only to growth, but also to disease and decay. An intense and rapid intellectual development may have for its condition a totally abnormal state of society, where certain vices, unknown to ruder ages, spring up and flourish with rank luxuriance. When men have to take women along with them on every new path of enquiry, progress will be considerably retarded, although its benefits will ultimately be shared among a greater number, and will be better insured against the danger of a violent reaction. But the work that Hellas was commissioned to perform could not wait; it had to be accomplished in a few generations, or not at all. The barbarians were forcing their way in on every side, not merely with the weight of invading armies, but with the deadlier pressure of a benumbing superstition, with the brute-worship of Egypt and the devil-worship of Phoenicia, with57 their delirious orgies, their mutilations, their crucifixions, and their gladiatorial contests. Already in the later dramas of Euripides and in the Rhodian school of sculpture, we see the awful shadow coming nearer, and feel the poisonous breath of Asia on our faces. Reason, the reason by which these terrors have been for ever exorcised, could only arrive at maturity under the influence of free and uninterrupted discussion carried on by men among themselves in the gymnasium, the agora, the ecclêsia, and the dicastery. The resulting and inevitable separation of the sexes bred frightful disorders, which through all changes of creed have clung like a moral pestilence to the shores of the Aegean, and have helped to complicate political problems by joining to religious hatred the fiercer animosity of physical disgust. But whatever were the corruptions of Greek sentiment, Greek philosophy had the power to purge them away. ‘Follow nature’ became the watchword of one school after another; and a precept which at first may have meant only that man should not fall below the brutes, was finally so interpreted as to imply an absolute control of sense by reason. No loftier standard of sexual purity has ever been inculcated than that fixed by Plato in his latest work, the Laws. Isocrates bids husbands set an example of conjugal fidelity to their wives. Socrates had already declared that virtue was the same for both sexes. Xenophon interests himself in the education of women. Plato would give them the same training, and everywhere associate them in the same functions with men. Equally decisive evidence of a theoretical opposition to slavery is not forthcoming, and we know that it was unfortunately sanctioned by Plato and Aristotle, in this respect no better inspired than the early Christians; nevertheless, the germ of such an opposition existed, and will hereafter be pointed out.
没有 IV. 97 Nor is it only the personality of Socrates that has been so variously conceived; his philosophy, so far as it can be separated from his life, has equally given occasion to conflicting interpretations, and it has even been denied that he had, properly speaking, any philosophy at all. These divergent presentations of his teaching, if teaching it can be called, begin with the two disciples to whom our knowledge of it is almost entirely due. There is, curiously enough, much the same inner discrepancy between Xenophon’s Memorabilia and those111 Platonic dialogues where Socrates is the principal spokesman, as that which distinguishes the Synoptic from the Johannine Gospels. The one gives us a report certainly authentic, but probably incomplete; the other account is, beyond all doubt, a highly idealised portraiture, but seems to contain some traits directly copied from the original, which may well have escaped a less philosophical observer than Plato. Aristotle also furnishes us with some scanty notices which are of use in deciding between the two rival versions, although we cannot be sure that he had access to any better sources of information than are open to ourselves. By variously combining and reasoning from these data modern critics have produced a third Socrates, who is often little more than the embodiment of their own favourite opinions.”
Next to Temperance comes Fortitude; and with it the difficulties of reconciling Epicureanism with the ordinary morality are considerably increased. The old conception of this virtue was willingness to face pain and death on behalf of a noble cause,138 which would be generally understood to mean the salvation of family, friends, and fatherland; and the ultimate sanction of such self-devotion was found in the pressure of public opinion. Idealistic philosophy, taking still higher ground, not69 only refused to balance the fear of pain and death against the fear of infamy or the hope of applause, but added public opinion to the considerations which a good man in the discharge of his duty would, if necessary, despise. Epicurus also inculcated disregard for reputation, except when it might lead to inconveniences of a tangible description;139 but he had nothing beyond the calculations of self-interest to put in its place. A modern utilitarian is bound to undergo loss and suffering in his own person for the prevention of greater loss and suffering elsewhere; an egoistic hedonist cannot consistently be brave, except for the sake of his own future security. The method by which Epicurus reconciled interest with courage was to minimise the importance of whatever injuries could be inflicted by external circumstances; just as in his theory of Temperance he had minimised the importance of bodily pleasures. How he disposed of death will best be seen in connexion with his physical philosophy. Pain he encountered by emphasising, or rather immensely exaggerating, the mind’s power of annulling external sensation by concentrating its whole attention on remembered or anticipated pleasures, or else on the certainty that present suffering must come to an end, and to a more speedy end in proportion to its greater severity. We are to hold a fire in our hand, partly by thinking of the frosty Caucasus, partly by the comforting reflection that the pain of a burn, being intense, will not be of long duration; while, at worst, like the Stoics, we have the resource of suicide as a last refuge from intolerable suffering.140 这种 It was not merely the immortality, it was the eternity of the soul that Plato taught. For him the expectation of a life beyond the grave was identified with the memory of an ante-natal existence, and the two must stand or fall together. When Shelley’s shipwrecked mother exclaims to her child:— ”