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[539c] they quickly fall into a violent distrust of all that they formerly held true; and the outcome is that they themselves and the whole business of philosophy are discredited with other men.” “Most true,” he said. “But an older man will not share this craze,1” said I, “but rather choose to imitate the one who consents to examine truth dialectically than the one who makes a jest2 and a sport of mere contradiction,

1 But in another mood or from another angle this is the bacchic madness of philosophy which all the company in the Symposium have shared, 218 A-B. Cf. also Phaedr. 245 B-C, 249 C-E, Sophist 216 D, Phileb. 15 D-E, and What Plato Said, p. 493 on Protag. 317 D-E.

2 Cf. Gorg. 500 B-C. Yet the prevailing seriousness of Plato's own thought does not exclude touches of humor and irony, and he vainly warns the modern reader to distinguish between jest and earnest in the drama of disputation in his dialogues. Many misinterpretations of Plato's thought are due to the failure to heed this warning. Cf. e.g .Gorgias 474 A (What Plato Said, p. 504), which Robin, L’Année Philos. xxi. p. 29, and others miss, Rep. 376 B, Symp. 196 C, Protag. 339 f., Theaet. 157 A-B, 160 B,165 B,and passim. Cf. also on 536 C, p. 214, note b.

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