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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

was said.

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.

Phaedr. Certainly.

Soc. But he who thinks that in the written word there is necessarily

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