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THE object of this volume is to furnish the reader with material for estimating the characteristics and influence of Plato the Mythologist, or Prophet, as distinguished from Plato the Dialectician, or Reasoner.

In order to effect this special object within a reasonable space, it was necessary to extract the Myths from the Dialogues in which they occur, with only the shortest possible indication of the Context in each case, and to confine the Observations to the Myths as individual pieces and as a series. The reader, therefore, must not expect to find in the Observations on, say, the Phaedo Myth or the Phaedrus Myth a Study of the Phaedo or the Phaedrus.

The Greek text printed opposite the Translations and followed by them throughout, except in a few places where preferred readings are given in footnotes, is that of Stallbaum's Platonis Opera Omnia Uno Volumine Comprehensa (1867).

I owe a large debt of gratitude to two friends for help received.

Professor J. S. Phillimore read all the Translations through in proof with the most friendly care; and errors which may be detected in these Translations will, I feel sure, turn out to be in places where, from some cause or other, I may have failed to make proper use of his suggestions. The other friend who helped me, Frederick York Powell,

A few weeks before his last illness began to cause serious anxiety to his friends, he read through all the

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Translations in manuscript up to the Phaedrus Myth, inclusive, and I read to him nearly the whole of the Introduction, and also other parts, especially those relating to the Theory of Poetry. The help he then gave me by his suggestive and sympathetic discussion of various points closed a long series of acts of friendship on which I shall always look back with a feeling of deep gratitude.


OXFORD, December 1904.


1. The Platonic Drama—Two elements to be distinguished in it: Argumentative

Conversation and Myth

Pages 1.4

2. General remarks on uvoologia, or Story-telling - Primitive Story-telling

described as åvpwroloyla kal swoloyia-Stories, or Myths, are (1) Simply

Anthropological and Zoological ; (2) Aetiological ; (3) Eschatological-A

Myth, as distinguished from an Allegory, has no Moral or Other-



3. Plato's Myths distinguished from Allegories—To what experience, to what

“Part of the Soul," does the Platonic Myth appeal ? To that part which

expresses itself, not in "theoretic judgments,” but in “value-judgments,"
or rather “value-feelings "— The effect produced in us by the Platonic
Myth is essentially that produced by Poetry ; “Transcendental Feeling,”
the sense of the overshadowing presence of “That which was, and is, and
ever shall be,” is awakened in us—Passages from the Poets, quoted to
exemplify the production of this effect .


4. “Transcendental Feeling” explained genetically as the reflection in Conscious-

ness of the Life of the “ Vegetative Part of the Soul,” the fundamental

principle in us, and in all living creatures, which silently, in timeless

sleep, makes the assumption on which the whole rational life of Conduct

and Science rests, the assumption that “Life is worth living," that there is

a Cosmos, in which, and of which, it is good to be—“Transcendental

Feeling” is thus Solemn Sense of Timeless Being, and Conviction that

Life is good, and is the beginning and end of Metaphysics—It is with the

production of the first of these two phases of “Transcendental Feeling"

that the Platonic Myth, and Poetry generally, are chiefly concerned-

The Platonic Myth rouses and regulates this mode of “ Transcendental

Feeling" for the use of Conduct and Science.


5. The Platonic Myth rouses and regulates * Transcendental Feeling" by

(1) Imaginative Representation of Ideas of Reason,” and (2) Imaginative

Deduction of "Categories of the Understanding” and “Moral Virtues”

– Distinction between “ Ideas” and “Categories ” implicit in Plato-

Kant's distinction explained—Why does Plato employ Myth when he

“represents” Ideas of Reason, Soul, Cosmos, God, and when he

“ deduces” Categories of the Understanding and Moral Virtues ? 42-51

6. Plato's treatment of the “Idea of God”


Phaedo, 114 D—"Moral Responsibility” the motif of the Phaedo








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