Sophist

Sophist

Published

Excerpt:

. The language is less fanciful and imaginative than that of the earlier dialogues; and there is more of bitterness, as in the Laws, though traces of a similar temper may also be observed in the description of the 'great brute' in the Republic, and in the contrast of the lawyer and philosopher in the Theaetetus. The following are characteristic passages: 'The ancient philosophers, of whom we may say, without offence, that they went on their way rather regardless of whether we understood them or not;' the picture of the materialists, or earth-born giants, 'who grasped oaks and rocks in their hands,' and who must be improved before they can be reasoned with; and the equally humourous delineation of the friends of ideas, who defend themselves from a fastness in the invisible world; or the comparison of the Sophist to a painter or maker (compare Republic), and the hunt after him in the rich meadow-lands of youth and wealth; or, again, the light and graceful touch with which the older philosophies are painted ('Io