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Philebus - Plato

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Translated by Benjamin Jowett


The Philebus appears to be one of the later writings of Plato, in which the
style has begun to alter, and the dramatic and poetical element has become
subordinate to the speculative and philosophical.  In the development of
abstract thought great advances have been made on the Protagoras or the
Phaedrus, and even on the Republic.  But there is a corresponding
diminution of artistic skill, a want of character in the persons, a
laboured march in the dialogue, and a degree of confusion and
incompleteness in the general design.  As in the speeches of Thucydides,
the multiplication of ideas seems to interfere with the power of
expression.  Instead of the equally diffused grace and ease of the earlier
dialogues there occur two or three highly-wrought passages; instead of the
ever-flowing play of humour, now appearing, now concealed, but always
present, are inserted a good many bad jests, as we may venture to term
them.  We may observe an attempt at artificial ornament, and far-fetched
modes of expression; also clamorous demands on the part of his companions,
that Socrates shall answer his own questions, as well as other defects of
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