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The Ethics of WritingAuthorship and Legacy in Plato and Nietzsche$
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Sean Burke

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748618309

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748618309.001.0001

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Signature and Authorship in the Phaedrus

Signature and Authorship in the Phaedrus

(p.144) 3 Signature and Authorship in the Phaedrus
The Ethics of Writing

Seán Burke

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter analytically counterpoises the oral and graphic signatures more Aristotelico as also in a general ethical meditation, before reviving the question of agency as it reflects dialectic's uncertain status as a discourse stranded between its own determinations of science and muthos. The dynamic of play and seriousness, of game and gravity, which the Phaedrus weaves around the question of writing, is motivated by a desire to guard against the game becoming dangerous, the discursive mask masquerading as the man, the ludic being taken for the grave, the playful careening into the heinous, and the fatal. The closing phase of the chapter reviews the authorship as the unnameable concept on which the argument of the Phaedrus turns. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche's unique status, his absolutely singular signature, makes him the archetypal figure of the ethics of writing as developed in the Phaedrus.

Keywords:   Phaedrus, signature, authorship, writing, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, ethics

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