Come fondare nella scrittura un luogo comune? Platone critico della comunicazione


  • Rocco Ronchi



Rocco, Ronchi, Plato, Derrida


How to establish a community in writing? Plato as a critic of communication

Plato’s critique of writing has a mostly ethical meaning. When Plato criticizes writing, he asserts the primacy of the pragmatic and pedagogical dimension of the philosophical communication compared to the mere semantics of ideas. The several models that have been proposed in order to explain the platonic critique of writing – the “oral” one by Havelock, the “esoteric” one by the Tübingen School, the “deconstructionist” one by Derrida – all neglect this dimension. Plato as a writer has to be comprised inside this very horizon instead. Plato’s critique of alphabetical writing comes at the conclusion of a dialogue concerning love (is it better to give oneself to the one who loves or rather to the one who doesn’t love?) and the distinction between good and bad rhetoric. Plato does not express his disdain for the alphabetical medium because he would prefer the oral-aural medium to convey the philosophical communication. Plato disdains a communication that has been reduced to the dimension of the medium, that has become only “transmission” of disembodied meanings from a “source” to a “receiver”, untied from any common shared context: a de-eroticized communication. In the platonic critique of writing the question therefore is what kind of knowledge, of production and circulation, the philosophical communication is. Such criticism will neither spare the platonic “theory of ideas”. As a matter of fact, its “objectivist” version will be criticized in the late dialogue Parmenides. Undoubtedly the alphabetical algorithm has produced the possibility of a desomatized and objectivated knowledge in the artificial memory of “texts”. Plato’s suspect is thus directed there. This doesn’t dismiss at all the fact that even in the written form there may be a communication able to keep alive this erotic-pedagogical dimension, a communication that actually is a paradoxical didachē (teaching) in absentia (without a common context between the teacher and the apprentice). Plato hasn’t actually been a great writer (the greatest?) in spite of his critique of writing. He has actually been thanks to it and because of it.