pretty well informed about the nature of art and its opposite.
Phaedr. Yes, I think with you; but I wish that you would repeat what
Soc. Until a man knows the truth of the several particulars of which
he is writing or speaking, and is able to define them as they are, and
having defined them again to divide them until they can be no longer
divided, and until in like manner he is able to discern the nature
of the soul, and discover the different modes of discourse which are
adapted to different natures, and to arrange and dispose them in
such a way that the simple form of speech may be addressed to the
simpler nature, and the complex and composite to the more complex
nature-until he has accomplished all this, he will be unable to handle
arguments according to rules of art, as far as their nature allows
them to be subjected to art, either for the purpose of teaching or
persuading;-such is the view which is implied in the whole preceding
Phaedr. Yes, that was our view, certainly.
Soc. Secondly, as to the censure which was passed on the speaking or
writing of discourses, and how they might be rightly or wrongly
censured-did not our previous argument show?-
Phaedr. Show what?
Soc. That whether Lysias or any other writer that ever was or will
be, whether private man or statesman, proposes laws and so becomes the
author of a political treatise, fancying that there is any great
certainty and clearness in his performance, the fact of his so writing
is only a disgrace to him, whatever men may say. For not to know the
nature of justice and injustice, and good and evil, and not to be able
to distinguish the dream from the reality, cannot in truth be
otherwise than disgraceful to him, even though he have the applause of
the whole world.
Soc. But he who thinks that in the written word there is necessarily