Plato/Phaedrus

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The book of Phaedrus, by Plato. Recites a conversation between Phaedrus and Socrates on a walk outside of town. Phaedrus outlines his position on the concept of love and relationships in ancient Athens. Homosexuality is used to describe the relationship between the lover and beloved. Socrates argues as to whether the lover or the beloved is the more fulfilling side of the relationship.

The art of Plato is such that the intricate cohesion of word and action reveals itself through many layers. Plato writes; and as a writer he has the time and the means (written letters) to compose. But what is Socrates doing? He does not have the leisure to compose over a long period of time. He is responding to particular individuals, in particular circumstances, in the moment. He is thinking on his feet. One might claim that this is actually the first deficiency of the dialogues, that they are artificial and unrealistic in this way. If the written text reveals itself as finely crafted in the subtlety of its inner connections, how seriously can we take the apparent spontaneity of the spoken discourse? This may be Plato’s supreme irony—the evocation of truth through artificiality. (requirement 3)

--Jeremy Rizik