THE discussions on political questions in the dialogues generally aim at seeking some philosophical under-standing of the underlying principles of all political activity. As such they seek to go beyond the particular circumstances of any one time or place. And in this attempt they attain a large degree of success. Even in our own so very different conditions we find, if we study them rightly, Plato's discussions of political principles extraordinarily helpful and suggestive. But, of course, those discussions assume an incidental background of political conditions peculiar to the time at which they were written. And the question has been raised, with special reference to the Socratic controversy, whether the conditions thus assumed are more naturally to be taken as those existing at the time of writing or those existing at the time at which the conversations described in the dialogues are supposed to have taken place.