Plato on writing and the conceit of wisdom


From a good friend and mentor after a recent dinner and discussion on iPads in schools, the constant challenge of what to offload from your brain to technology, and many other topics. Plato saw it all coming when writing came into Greek education. Imagine what he would have thought with facts being left to be “googled” and testing students for what they “know.”


If men learn this, it will implant forgetfulness in their souls; they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks. What you have discovered is a recipe not for memory, but for reminder. And it is no true wisdom that you offer your disciples, but only its semblance, for by telling them of many things without teaching them you will make them seem to know much, while for the most part they know nothing, and as men filled, not with wisdom, but with the conceit of wisdom, they will be a burden to their fellows.

== Plato, Phaedrus  275a-b

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