Translated by Benjamin Jowett
INTRODUCTION AND ANALYSIS.
The dramatic power of the dialogues of Plato appears to diminish as the
metaphysical interest of them increases (compare Introd. to the Philebus).
There are no descriptions of time, place or persons, in the Sophist and
Statesman, but we are plunged at once into philosophical discussions; the
poetical charm has disappeared, and those who have no taste for abstruse
metaphysics will greatly prefer the earlier dialogues to the later ones.
Plato is conscious of the change, and in the Statesman expressly accuses
himself of a tediousness in the two dialogues, which he ascribes to his
desire of developing the dialectical method. On the other hand, the
kindred spirit of Hegel seemed to find in the Sophist the crown and summit
of the Platonic philosophy--here is the place at which Plato most nearly
approaches to the Hegelian identity of Being and Not-being. Nor will the
great importance of the two dialogues be doubted by any one who forms a
conception of the state of mind and opinion which they are intended to
meet. The sophisms of the day were undermining philosophy; the denial of
the existence of Not-being, and of the connexion of ideas, was making truth