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reason in her most exalted mood. That was to come later; but we must first proceed to a quite different aspect of the subject.
The Philebus is a continuation of Plato's critical philosophy, especially in its relation to ethics. The discussion of the function of 'opinion,' already closely associated with 'phantasy,' becomes the basis of a science of ethics. Socratez is anxious to show that opinion springs not alone from impressions of sense, but from sense and memory combined. He appeals to experience: one asks oneself,
'What is that which appears [pavracóuevov] to be standing by the rock under the tree?'... To which he may guess the right answer, saying as if in a whisper to himself Ko— It is a man.' ... Or again, he may be misled, and then he will say_No, it is a figure made by the shepherds.' ... And if he has a companion, he repeats his thought to him in articulate sounds, and what was before an opinion, has now become a proposition.si
Obviously Plato has in mind the discussion in the Sophist of right and wrong predication, and the common bond uniting thought, opinion, and phantasy (i. e. opinion expressed in some form of sense). It is also noteworthy that he thinks of ‘phantasy' in two ways: 'that which appears' is 'phantasy,' and the expression of an opinion would also constitute a' phantasy. In this process of getting and expressing opinions he wishes to show how important is the rôle of memory. “Memory and perception meet, and they and their attendant feelings seem to me almost to write down words in the soul, and when the inscribing feeling writes truly, then true opinion and true propositions which are the expressions of opinion, come into our souls—but when the scribe within us writes falsely, the result is false.' 82 Such is his account of the memory.
I must bespeak your favour also for another artist, who is busy at the same time in the chambers of the soul.
Who is he?
The painter, who, after the scribe has done his work, draws images in the soul of the things which he has described.
** See above, p. 381. Thought is the conversation of the soul with herself.' Jowett, 4. 400.
81 38 C, D; Jowett, 4. 609. 69 39 A; Jowett, 4. 610.
But when and how does he do this?
When a man, besides receiving from sight or some other senses certain opinions or statements, sees in his mind the images of the subjects of them; 83—is not this a very common mental phenomenon ?
And the images answering to true opinions and words are true, and to false opinions and words false; are they not ? 84
Plato is so far from his early contempt-or pretended contempt - for knowledge gained through the senses that he is actually at pains to describe the function of the reproductive imagination in its relation to perception, memory, and phantasy. First there is the simple sensation and the resulting impression, or simple phantasy. This the memory retains. In turn the connection established in the mind between the object of perception and the memory-image causes us to have true or false opinion, which when expressed constitutes a true or false phantasy.
Of course, such an interpretation assumes that the relations established between thought, phantasy, and discourse are in the mind of Plato throughout the Philebus; that the psychology of the Philebus is a continuation of that of the Sophist. Then it follows that the faculty described as the painter is the phantasy in a new aspect, and not to be identified with the first simple impression. Plato is insisting that man gives shape to his opinions; that in the process of forming the simplest opinion he instinctively forms a mental image to aid him. Our opinion may very easily be false if our memory has played us false and has not adhered faithfully to the original impression. In consequence, our concrete representation of that opinion will be false: it will not square with the first ‘phantasy. These 'phantasies' or concrete embodiments of thought following sensation are liable to error. The pictures of the reproductive imagination are true or false according to the accuracy of the mental process preceding them.
Now, Plato says, we have opinions of the future also; and a similar power of 'phantasy' to give shape to them. We give very definite shape to our hopes and fears. Because this is so, phantasy' plays an essential part in regulating conduct. "And the fancies of hope are also pictured in us; a man may often have a
* 1. e., images of the original, not of the resulting impressions. ** 39 B, C.
vision of a heap of gold, and pleasures ensuing, and in the picture there may be a likeness of himself mightily rejoicing over his good fortune.' The good, he concludes, keep before them good images; while the bad have only ludicrous imitations of the true. Their images, the concrete embodiments of their false opinions, lead only to a pleasure about things which neither have nor have ever had any real existence.86 This power of phantasy,' more intimately than ever bound up with the problem of knowledge, becomes the means by which conduct is regulated. To know oneself, from one point of view, is to know the state of one's phantasies as the various shapes taken by our feelings in determining our acts: our hopes, fears, and desires. It is here that the Philebus acts as an introduction to the Timaeus.
The student of Plato's conception of fine art invariably remarks as an essential part of that theory a belief in poetic inspiration; and he will hardly be satisfied with an account of Plato's views of 'fancy' and 'imagination' which ignores the discourse of the inspired Socrates of the Symposium and the myth of the Phaedrus. Yet there is explicit theory of 'fancy' and 'imagination' peither of these dialogues. If, however, the Symposium is an early work, we should expect only a contempt for 'phantasms.' With the Phaedrus and the Timaeus it is different. They were presumably written at a time when Plato no longer condemned phantasies and images as unreal. Yet it is hardly to be expected that a recognition of phantasy' as a power necessary to the knowledge of the material world would eventually lead to a theory of inspiration or enthusiasm or madness as states of imagination. While Plato comes more and more to recognize the necessary functions of ‘phantasy,' he seems to be getting farther away from that world of Immutable Ideas the contemplation of which would constitute inspiration or ecstasy or enthusiasm. Nowhere in his later critical dialogues, in which he developed a theory of 'phantasy in the service of reason, does he seem to have reached again the high ideal of the Symposium with its contempt for 'phantasms' of the material world.
It is true that his notion of ‘phantasy' had come so close to vonous that he had recognized that in the mental functioning immediately below intuition one could not think of the abstract save through images. This implicit theory of imaginative symbolism just falls short of a doctrine of inspiration. However close 'phantasy' and `imagination’ are to the highest mental function, they are never for Plato identical with it; they are only means. Human imagination was tied to the laws of matter; and no theory of human image-making could lead to a theory of intuition of immaterial ideas. In Plato's dualism there was a gulf between spirit and matter over which a faculty concerned with the latter could not easily pass; there was a point, as in Dante's vision of Paradise, $? beyond which human phantasy could not go. It could not of its own power result in intuition.
86 40 A; Jowett, 4. 611.
86 40 D; Jowett, 4. 612.
But inspiration implies not so much an activity on the part of the individual as a right condition of receptivity and a communication both of power and of vision by a higher Being. It does not even imply that the vision will be comprehended through our highest intellectual powers. The inspired man, from this point of view, is not necessarily the wisest. It is not essentially by means of the loftiest imagination that the vision is seen. So much ought to be premised concerning man's activity in the process of inspiration.
In turn, a doctrine of divine inspiration must start from the belief in a God who not only comprehends in his own person all objects worthy of contemplation, but has definitely ascribed to him a power and function through which these ideas, these worthy objects of vision, may be communicated to the favored being who is in fit condition to receive them. To such a doctrine the discussion in the Sophist of the creative function seems to point; and the fulfilment of that scheme, it is reasonable to think, one finds in the Timaeus.8
Plato has by no means given up his fundamental dualism; mind and true opinion are essentially different. 89 Opinion, however, is
87 Paradiso 33. 142: ‘All' alta fantasia qui mancò possa.'
* This, of course, takes for granted that God is the source of the ideas; and the force of the interpretation about to be offered may seem to be weakened by the fact that so good an authority as Archer-Hind (The Timaeus of Plato, pp. 37 ff.) expressly denies that the 'demiourgos' is the creator of the Ideas. While explaining away the passage in Rep. VI, he has seemingly ignored the references in the Sophist to the divine creative function.
8° 51 C, D, E; Jowett, 3. 471.
no longer presumed to be false; its reality is recognized, and Plato is now interested in the laws which govern it.
Every man may be said to share in true opinion, but mind is the attribute of the gods and of a very few men. Wherefore also we must acknowledge that there is one kind of being which is always the same, uncreated and indestructible, ... invisible and imperceptible by any sense, and o! which the contemplation is granted to intelligence (vonois) only. And there is another nature of the same name with it, and like to it, perceivel by sense, created, always in motion ... which is apprehended by opinion and sense.**
Plato has in mind the line of knowledge described in Republic VI, cut into two unequal portions called the invisible and the visible.
It is also noteworthy that he continues to think of the acquisition of knowledge as a process of seeing, which demands a complementary relation between light and power. The soul for him is like the eye, and the ordinary process of knowledge is described as a kind of vision wherein the light of the eye and a light from an external source combine to produce knowledge. 9 The lower sort, true opinion, would for Plato naturally take the form of 'phantasms.' These, the products of sensation, are the result of the perfect union of the internal and external powers.93 This is the process of waking experience.
‘But when night comes on and the external and kindred fire 'departs, then the stream of vision is cut off' [i. e. the ordinary processes of sense-experience no longer function] and the soul is said to sleep. But where the greater motions still remain, of whatever nature and in whatever locality, they engender corresponding visions in dreams, which are remembered by us when we are awake and in the external world. 94 Then he adds: “And now there is no longer any difficulty in understanding the creation of
PO 1. e., to the gods and to a very few men.
94 τοιαύτα και τοσαύτα παρέσχοντο αφομοιωθέντα εντός έξω τε εγερθείσιν απομνημοevóueva pa vtáguara. Archer-Hind (op. cit., p. 159) translates: 'according to their nature and the places where they remain, they engender visions corresponding in kind and in number; which are images within us, and when we are awake are remembered as outside us.' This brings out the contrast between εντός and έξω. .