Chapter

The Ethical Opening

Seán Burke

in The Ethics of Writing

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780748618309
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652075 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748618309.003.0003
The Ethical Opening

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This chapter reviews the aporia, particularly when deeper subtleties and layers of textual significance in the Phaedrus come into view. It also considers the issue of writing against writing in terms of the ironic distance opened between Plato as author and Socrates as protagonist, or when other aspects of what is traditionally called ‘the Socratic problem’ bear upon the argument. Eric Havelock's argument makes for the most elegant reading of Plato's arguments against the poets and art generally. Preface to Plato explained the preverbal mystery of the Dionysian in terms of an oral synthesis. Writing is opposed for the same reasons as preliterate poetry, for its repetition, its promotion of hypomnēsis associated with particularity, its unresponsiveness, its silence before questioning, and its changeless words.

Keywords: aporia; Phaedrus; Plato; Socrates; writing; Socratic problem; Eric Havelock; Preface to Plato

Chapter.  28281 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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