Derrida disseminates Socrates and Plato

dis

in

semen

semin

ation

ates

bad

good

seed scatters

produces

Derrida in Postcards questions the relationship of Plato and Socrates, the two fathers of meaning in Western thought. It is through Plato that we know Socrates. (470 - 399BC) Socrates never wrote; he was written by Aristophanes his enemy, Xenophon and Plato.


Derrida reread Phaedrus where Plato says '...that writing can only repeat (itself), that it ' always signifies (semainei) the same" and that it is a "game' (paidia)


Writing

philosophers

knowers

speakers of truth

sophists

writing

mythos

true remembrance

of Ideal Form

hieroglyphics

cuneiforms

alphabets

true remembrance

genealogies

histories

mechanical reproductions

of genealogies

histories

myths

fables


The Dialogue opens with Phaedrus, a student of Lysias (born 458 BC seven years before Plato), the celebrated rhetorician, meets Socrates as they both are walking outside the wall of Athens. The enthusiastic Phaedrus is anxious to share the speech he has just heard by Lysias.

The dialogue between Socrates and Phaedrus takes place as they walk outside the walls of Athens on the riverbank of Illissus near the place where according to Athenian mythology, a young maiden Orithyia was abducted by the god Boreas. Socrates rationally explains the disappearance of Orithyia along the riverbanks of the Illissus. "...a blast of Boreas, the north wind, pushed her off the neighboring rocks as she was playing with Pharmacea, and that when she had died in this manner she was said to have been carried off by Boreas."

Derrida, Jacques. 1981. [1972] trans. Johnson, Barbara. Dissemination 'Plato's Pharmacy: Pharmacia'

'The word pharmakon is caught in a chain of significance' (Dissemination 95)
pharmacia is a drug

a healing medicine

a poison

allurement

a young maiden

forbidden games

a loss of virginity

pharmakon

writing

is

seduces

a concept

writing

pharmakon

dissemination

like a dangerous drug

is repeating without knowing

is not real thinking

is mythos

a scapegoat

pharmakos was civil

a purification act

human sacrifice

use of scapegoats

sacrifice of deformed humans

burning of sacrificial humans

producer of ashes of sacrificed humans

Socrates expounds on those who refrain from writing for fear of being accused of being sophists; and on the relative virtues of speaking and writing.

Socrates continues, explaining that statesmen and other speakers of rhetoric hope to be written, to be approved and to have that approval recorded. The proud, ambitious statesmen aspires to be immortalized through writing like the great Darius. Socrates uses a myth to discredit myth over logos. In Socrates' version of the Thamus disparaged Theuthfor inventing writing along with alchemy, geometry, astronomy, calculations...Theuth is the Greek name for Thoth son of Amon Ra. Derrida posits that by representing Ra in speech and writing Theuth has replaced the god himself.

Socratic binaries

Ra Theuth

Thoth

Father Son
Living Word Dead letter
speech writing
speech hieroglyphics

lifeless signifier

logos mythos
citizen scapegoat
good memory

insemination

productive

dissemination

wasteful

tokos

real son

fruits of seed

product

bastard son

no 'paternity'

no origin

truly wise

knowers

sophists

repeat without knowing

aletheia

truth

peitho

persuasion

Socratic binaries

Ra

Ammon

blinding sun

the hidden

the signified

Teuth

Hermes

he who replaces Ra

moon

god of writing

signifier god

Nabu

Nebo

Derrida Diss:84

Father Son

Derrida | Nonbinary Logic | Hymen

Writing | Written | Speech

philosophers

knowers

speakers of truth

either/or

neither/nor

both/and

sophists

writing

mythos

true remembrance

of Ideal Form

either/or

neither/nor

both/and

hieroglyphics

cuneiforms

alphabets

true remembrance

genealogies

histories

either/or

neither/nor

both/and

mechanical reproductions

of genealogies

histories

myths

fables

true remembrance either/or

neither/nor

both/and

archives

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