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Part of the series on:
The Dialogues of Plato
Early dialogues:
ApologyCharmidesCrito
EuthyphroFirst Alcibiades
Hippias MajorHippias Minor
IonLachesLysis
Transitional & middle dialogues:
CratylusEuthydemusGorgias
MenexenusMenoPhaedo
ProtagorasSymposium
Later middle dialogues:
The RepublicPhaedrus
ParmenidesTheaetetus
Late dialogues:
TimaeusCritias
The SophistThe Statesman
PhilebusLaws
Of doubtful authenticity:
ClitophonEpinomis
EpistlesHipparchus
MinosRival Lovers
Second AlcibiadesTheages

The Clitophon (also Cleitophon) is a dialogue generally ascribed to Plato, though there is some disagreement regarding its authenticity. It is the shortest of the dialogues, and is significant for focusing on Socrates' role as an exhorter of other people to engage in philosophic inquiry. There are two participants, Cleitophon and Socrates, and the central feature of the discussion is Cleitophon's lengthy complaint about Socrates. The crux of this complaint is that, while no one excels Socrates in protreptic or exhortation to the virtues and the life of philosophy, no one is more useless to one already persuaded of their importance. Socrates does not respond, or the dialogue does not contain his response.

Some scholars doubt the authenticity of the Clitophon because (as we have it today) Socrates does not emerge victorious in the verbal battle. One school of thought in favor of its authenticity thinks that Plato wrote it, but then decided to have the argument in the Republic. The argument for this idea is that it is the rare piece of the esotericor not meant for publication. The dialogue has also been interpreted as a finished piece of the Platonic corpus, intended to be read in the version which we currently possess.











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