To set the scene: Socrates

To set the scene: Socrates and Phaedrus have both finished listening to a carefully reasoned, perfectly articulate, and completely public speech made by a famous, older, high-society Athenian intellectual. The theme of the speech was on the benefits of what we presently call “sexual liberation”.

Phaedrus: The outstanding feature of this discourse is that it has not overlooked any important aspect of the subject, so making it impossible for anyone else to outdo what he has said with a fuller or more satisfactory oration.

Socrates: …really, it seemed to me that he said the same thing several times over. Maybe he’s not very clever at explaining at length on a single theme, or possibly he has no interest in these topics. In fact, it struck me as an extravagant performance to demonstrate his ability to say the same thing twice, in different words but with equal success.

Those who are newer to philosophy see a full, exaustive, and imposing argument in the same words that the wise see only as a mechanical and drab repetition of the same point.


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