GREEK PHILOSOPHY - II.
- The Followers of Socrates
It would be too much to expect that more than a
very few of those who came under the influence of Socrates could understand experientially his personality or interpret the thought that lay underneath it;
and, in fact, the immediate disciples and successors of Socrates may be divided
into three classes: first, those who (like Xenophon) reproduced with little or
no modification the Socratic doctrines but only incompletely the
Socratic spirit and method; second, those who, according to their
several personal temperaments and predilections, attributed special
importance to some one feature of Socrates's teaching or personality;
and third, those, or, rather, that one who, combining the principles and
doctrines of Socrates with principles and doctrines of other thinkers,
and interpreting freely the personality of Socrates, was the first to
give to philosophy, on a Socratic basis, something like completeness of
content and form—namely Plato. Of the second class were the so-called
Lesser Socratics, whom we have next to consider.