Suppose you meet someone who is looking for an argument. What should you do?
If you are Socrates, you engage. After all, in the Phaedo, in which Plato describes his teacher’s final hours, Socrates admonishes his students to beware of becoming “misologues,” that is to say, those who hate argument. (The Greek word misologos, which makes its first textual appearance here, is explicitly compared to misanthrōpos, “hating people”; in another Platonic dialogue, the Laches, it is contrasted with philologos, whence our word “philologist.”) Socrates considers misology so terrible that he says no worse evil can befall a person.
But what if you are Ptahhatp?
Who, you may ask, is...