From Chapter X., Eclecticism and Reaction
It will be observed that all these warring systems found their way to Athens, and it was there, and there alone that the divergent theories of Ionia and the West came into contact. Such questions as whether the earth was round or flat, and whether "what we think with" was Air or Blood, must have been hotly debated at Athens about the middle of the fifth century B.C., when Sokrates was young. On any view of him, it is surely incredible that he was not interested in these controversies at the time, however remote they may have seemed to him in later life. Now, in the Phaedo, Plato has put into his mouth an autobiographical statement in which he tells us that this was actually the case,42 and the list of problems there given is one that can only have occupied men's minds at Athens and at that date.43 All the scientific schools end at Athens, and it was the Athenian Sokrates who saw that the questions they had raised could only be met by making a fresh start from another point of view.
39. Windelband, § 25. The period is well described by Fredrich, Hippokratische Untersuchungen, pp. 130 sqq. It can only be treated fully in connexion with the Sophists.
40. For an amusing picture of the Herakleiteans see Plato, Theaet. 179 e. The new interest in language, which the study of rhetoric had called into life, took with them the form of fantastic and arbitrary etymologising, such as is satirised in Plato's Cratylus.
41. Arist. Met. Γ, 5.1010 a 12. He refused even to speak, we are told, and only moved his finger.
42. Plato, Phaedo, 96 a sqq.
43. I have tried to show this in detail in my notes on the passage in my edition of the Phaedo (Oxford, 1910). It is a remarkable proof of Plato's historical sense that he should have been able to give an account of the state of scientific opinion at Athens some twenty-five years before his own birth, without, so far as I can see, a single anachronism.
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