LITERATURE: Phaedrus – Example by Example

While I cannot say that I have understood all the lessons put forth on speaking, writing, and love of both man and philosophy in this first complete reading of Phaedrus, I am interested in both the arguments used for the positions and  admiring of the manner in which Plato has managed to combine topics within a single piece that are separate and yet held in unity by these arguments.

The thread that holds them together is, to me, both logical and technical.  The progression of a natural discussion between two friends, Phaedrus and Socrates, allows for the subject to wander into separate but related areas.  The opening discourses about love and the admonishment to look at both sides of lover and beloved, as well as the good and bad elements of each, is a precurser, it would seem, of the logic Socrates uses in his speech on rhetoric versus dialectics.  Knowing truth, knowing audience, knowing the opposites and the similarities of all that is to be presented, is a form of philosophy that follows a logical progression and as well appeals to the reader (or preferably, the listener, as Socrates holds oratory over the written word). 

This also must be pondered: the immediacy of conversation that does allow for argument thus proving or disproving the presentation; the knowledge of the speechmaker of his subject and of the display of that subject so as to appeal to all in a fair and just manner without manipulation by clever prose; and the fault in the writing of perhaps not have the advantage of active editing that discourse allows. 

Phaedrus is something that I do need to reread to glean all the nuances of Socrates’ examples and subtle sarcasm.  It is also something, I believe, that could claim a permanent place on the shelf as a refresher and constant and continual teacher, so I will be ordering a copy of this work for future purpose.

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One Response to LITERATURE: Phaedrus – Example by Example

  1. Anne says:

    I am lost by your sentences as always, but adoring none-the-less, so all is still right with my world.

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