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Plato and Blogs

Plato apparently distrusted the written word.  He feared philosophical learning that relied on writing because one cannot ask questions of or engage in conversation with the author.  Therefore, some say, Plato would argue that one cannot learn from the written word.

Hmmmm.  When I teach writing my first observation is that writing is the outward and visible sign of inward and invisible thought.  Because writing so often is in response to that which is written, one should approach any written word as if one were in conversation with the writer.  Hence—marginalia.  Hence—notes.  Hence—at the very least—highlighting.

Once I was in a class in which the professor began by circulating the room and looking at—no, not whether we had done our homework but at—how much we had marked up the text we had been assigned for that day.

I cannot imagine reading something and not arguing with it the whole way through.  Perhaps writing was more sacred in Plato’s day.  What would he have thought of blogs?



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