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Gorgias - Plato [A Socratic Dialog]

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by Plato

Translated by Benjamin Jowett


In several of the dialogues of Plato, doubts have arisen among his
interpreters as to which of the various subjects discussed in them is the
main thesis.  The speakers have the freedom of conversation; no severe
rules of art restrict them, and sometimes we are inclined to think, with
one of the dramatis personae in the Theaetetus, that the digressions have
the greater interest.  Yet in the most irregular of the dialogues there is
also a certain natural growth or unity; the beginning is not forgotten at
the end, and numerous allusions and references are interspersed, which form
the loose connecting links of the whole.  We must not neglect this unity,
but neither must we attempt to confine the Platonic dialogue on the
Procrustean bed of a single idea.  (Compare Introduction to the Phaedrus.)

Two tendencies seem to have beset the interpreters of Plato in this matter.
First, they have endeavoured to hang the dialogues upon one another by the
slightest threads; and have thus been led to opposite and contradictory
assertions respecting their order and sequence.  The mantle of
Schleiermacher has descended upon his successors, who have applied his
method with the most various results.  The value and use of the method has
been hardly, if at all, examined either by him or them.  Secondly, they
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