Socrates' Graveyard

Semiotics:137-143 (2010)
Statues, monuments, cenotaphs and markers litter the landscape of Plato’s Phaedrus. By drawing together these numerous references and examining the economy of these silent symbols, we can gain an insight into Plato’s project, especially as it relates to questions of narrative, speech and writing. While the examination of the myth of Theuth is familiar to scholars of both Plato and Derrida, what is often overlooked is the way in which writing and speech are represented in the text by monuments, which speak through silence, and more often than not memorialize those who can no longer speak, or whose speech is, like themselves, rendered dead in writing. Like the pharmakon of writing itself, statuary operates within the economy of signs, an economy of reminding, which within the system of metaphysics leads not to the transcendent realm of ideas but ties us to the realm of opinion. However, by examining the role of myth and its relation to statuary in the Phaedrus, a new interpretation emerges, which allows for myth and the silent voices of the dead as a way to initiation.
Keywords Phaedrus  Plato  statue  Derrida
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DOI 10.5840/cpsem20107
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