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Additional resources for Symbolae Osloenses - Volume 84
But that, again, leaves us with Question II about writing as such. Here we should note a change in terminology. Up to the point where the value of writing is thematized – at 274b – Socrates has been talking indiscriminately about speeches (logoi) spoken and written (see 258d1–2, d7, 259e1–2, 264c2–5, 271b7–c1). ) That is, for a long time the issue of writing as such is not raised; there is talk of speeches that are not only delivered, but also composed, and they are composed in writing, but the fact that it is in writing that they are composed is never taken up until 274b.
But, thirdly, the point may also be that a trust in writing may make the person appear to himself to be wise – it may inﬂate his self-image. And this, in turn, is of course what makes such a person “difﬁcult to get along with” (275b2). Socrates uses the analogy with painting to make a second point as well. Because the written logos isn't addressed to anyone in particular, it is “roll[ing] about everywhere, reaching indiscriminately” anyone whom it happens upon. From a modern point of view this may seem too harsh; we tend to think that the interpretive under-determination of a text provides it with a kind of hermeneutic openness and fertility that is a virtue rather than a vice in a literary text.
That is, whether or not there might be something like a world soul as a separate principle in addition to each individual human soul, the human soul is not simply the eternally moving principle of an individual entity. In the Phaedrus, Plato invites us to explore soul not as a principle of individuality, but of community and of an identity over and above individuality. It is this potential of the text that I wish to investigate. Individuality and non-individuality We would do well to commence by providing a more exact characterization of non-individuality and collectivity.