The “Apology,” “Crito,” and “Phædo”〖H. C., xvi, 15ff.〗 of Plato present to us dramatically, in Plato’s words, the thoughts of Socrates. They all deal with the last days of his life, in which his thoughts may well have been at their ripest. Very probably Plato developed some of the thoughts of Socrates to their logical results, going beyond what the master actually said, and giving the tendencies of his thinking. But we shall hardly get nearer to the essence of the real Socrates than by reading these dialogues. For instance, he would seem to have felt that souls are the permanent things; their very essence is to live and give life; justice, temperance, piety, beauty, and such ideas are eternal essences which give reality to the human world. Possibly the greater flights of imagination in the “Phædo” belong to Plato, and the perfecting of the whole theory; many have supposed that all the philosophy of the dialogue is Plato’s. To disentangle his thought from his master’s is hard; the two are really one great movement of human thought, which has affected the world profoundly. One line of its influence is seen in Aristotle, who, in spite of all his differences, was strongly influenced by the doctrine of real essences. Another line of Socrates’s influence is seen in Stoicism.

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