What we gather from this remarkable utterance is that Plato found it impossible to raise the Greek State, which still remained for him the highest type of political association, to the level of his philosophical k principles. In fact, he makes no .attempt to connect the reconstruction of the State with the Idea of Good, and the only place in which he gives a practical turn to his highest ideas is in the remarkable picture of the which he draws at the beginning of the Itepublie. There ho endeavours to show that one who views all particular things in the light of the whole, as
the philosopher must do, will necessarily acquire an absolute generosity and freedom of spirit, which will
» » , i » • , raise him far above the level of the ordinary civic virtues ;1 but Plato does not enquire how, in that case, his philosophy can throw any light upon the organisation of the State. Rather, as Plato seems to indicate, his contemplation of ideal reality must bring with it a depreciatory estimate of all political interests, and even of the finite life in general "Do you think," says Socrates, " that a spirit full of such lofty thoughts, and privileged to contemplate all time and existence, can possibly attach any great importance to this life of ours ?" * And, in another place, he
Aristotle in drawing a broad line of
1 Of, Hep, ,491b, where these virtues are asserted to be a hindrance to
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