The Art of the System.


Time: Olden Days. 

Location: Athens. 

Characters: Phaedrus, Socrates, Kant, Derrida.

Socrates
… Shall we read the beginning of it again?* 

Phaedrus
If you like; but what you seek is not in it.

Socrates
Read, that I may hear Lysias himself.

Phaedrus
You know what my condition is, and you have heard how I think it is to our advantage to arrange these matters. And I claim that I ought not to be refused what I ask because I am not your lover. For lovers repent of the kindnesses they have done when their passion ceases.

Socrates
He certainly does not at all seem to do what we demand, for he does not even begin at the beginning, but undertakes to swim on his back up the current of his discourse from its end, and begins with what the lover would say at the end to his beloved. Am I not right, Phaedrus my dear?

Derrida [interrupting]
If I may interject, dear Socrates, but beginning at the beginning is sort of overrated, don’t you think? Yet by phrasing the question in this particular way, or implying to phrase it as “does one not suppose to begin at the beginning?” are you not attempting to trick poor Phaedrus here into simply stating what you have always already inscribed in the very question? Continue reading

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