A History of Greek Philosophy / SOCRATES
By a perfectly logical process, therefore, the crisis of philosophy produced in Greece through the moral and social chaos of the sophistic teaching had two issues, or perhaps we may call it one issue, carried out on the one side with a less, on the other side with a greater completeness. The less complete reaction from sophistic teaching attempted only such reconstruction of the moral point of view as should recover a law or principle of general and universally cogent character, whereon might be built anew a moral order without attempting to extend the inquiry as to a universal principle into the regions of abstract truth or into physics. The more complete and logical reaction, starting, indeed, from a universal principle in morals, undertook a logical reconstruction on the recovered universal basis all along the line of what was knowable.
To Socrates it was given to recover the lost point of stability in the world of morals, and by a system of attack, invented by himself, to deal in such a manner with the anarchists about him as to prepare the way for his successors, when the time was ripe for a more extended exposition of the new point of view. Those who in succession to him worked out a more limited theory of law, mainly or exclusively in the world of morals, only were called the Incomplete Socratics. Those who undertook to work it out through the whole field of the knowable, the Complete Socratics, were the two giants of philosophy, Plato and Aristotle.
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