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Socrates Was Against Writing

❶Aristophanes' writings describe Socrates running a sophist school and getting paid for it.

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Socrates on the Forgetfulness that Comes with Writing
Interesting, funny stuff.
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He attended Socrates' trial and that traumatic experience may have led to his attempt to design an ideal society. Following the death of Socrates he travelled widely in search of learning. After twelve years he returned to Athens and founded his Academy, one of the earliest organized schools in western civilization.

Among Plato's pupils was Aristotle. Some of Plato's other influences were Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, and Parmenides. Plato wrote extensively and most of his writings survived. His works are in the form of dialogues, where several characters argue a topic by asking questions of each other.

This form allows Plato to raise various points of view and let the reader decide which is valid. Plato expounded a form of dualism, where there is a world of ideal forms separate from the world of perception. The most famous exposition of this is his metaphor of the Cave, where people living in a cave are only able to see flickering shadows projected on the wall of the external reality. This influenced many later thinkers, particularly the Neoplatonists and the Gnostics , and is similar to views held by some schools of Hindu dualistic metaphysics.

Plato died in B. Theuth came to exhibit his arts to him and urged him to disseminate them to all the Egyptians. Thamus asked him about the usefulness of each art, and while Theuth was explaining it, Thamus praised him for whatever he thought was right in his explanations and criticized him for whatever he thought was wrong.

The story goes that Thamus said much to Theuth, both for and against each art, which it would take too long to repeat. But when they came to writing, Theuth said: And now, since you are the father of writing, your affection for it has made you describe its effects as the opposite of what they really are. In fact, it will introduce forgetfulness into the soul of those who learn it: You have not discovered a potion for remembering, but for reminding; you provide your students with the appearance of wisdom, not with its reality.

Your invention will enable them to hear many things without being properly taught, and they will imagine that they have come to know much while for the most part they will know nothing. And they will be difficult to get along with, since they will merely appear to be wise instead of really being so.

But, my friend, the priests of the temple of Zeus at Dodona say that the first prophecies were the words of an oak. Everyone who lived at that time, not being as wise as you young ones are today, found it rewarding enough in their simplicity to listen to an oak or even a stone, so long as it was telling the truth, while it seems to make a difference to you, Phaedrus, who is speaking and where he comes from.

I deserved that, Socrates. And I agree that the Theban king was correct about writing. You know, Phaedrus, writing shares a strange feature with painting. The offsprings of painting stand there as if they are alive, but if anyone asks them anything, they remain most solemnly silent. The same is true of written words.

Now tell me, can we discern another kind of discourse, a legitimate brother of this one? Can we say how it comes about, and how it is by nature better and more capable? It is a discourse that is written down, with knowledge, in the soul of the listener; it can defend itself, and it knows for whom it should speak and for whom it should remain silent. New Learning Chapter 2: Life in Schools Chapter 3: Learning For Work Chapter 4: Learning Civics Chapter 5: Learning Personalities Chapter 6:


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The Socratic Dialogues are a series of dialogues written by Plato and Xenophon in the form of discussions between Socrates and other persons of his time, or as discussions between Socrates' followers over his concepts. Plato's Phaedo is an example of this latter category.

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Watch video · Socrates was born circa BC, in Athens, Greece. We know of his life through the writings of his students, including Plato and Xenophon. His "Socratic method," laid the groundwork for Western systems of logic and philosophy.

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Socrates was also criticised in the writings of Callias, Eupolis and Telecleides. Prose. Plato and Xenophon were direct disciples of Socrates and wrote continuous descriptions of him. Aristotle refers frequently, but in passing, to Socrates in his writings. The Socratic Dialogues. Socrates saw writing in the same way: writing cannot be used as a sort of standalone memory bank because people who read a text will only have a partial understanding of the author’s meaning, and therefore should not be taken seriously.

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Plato's απολογημα (Apology) is an account of Socrates's (unsuccessful) speech in his own defense before the Athenian jury; it includes a detailed description of the motives and goals of philosophical . Of all these writings we have only the works of Plato, Xenophon, a comic image by Aristophanes, and later works by Aristotle to tell us anything about Socrates' life. He, himself, wrote nothing, but his words and actions in the search for and defense of Truth changed the .