"What philosophy is seems to be inseparable from the question of how to read Plato. Now almost no philosopher after Plato wrote at length about philosophy, and from antiquity at least there are few notices that inform us about the principles of Platonic writing. Three, however, stand out; the first two, in Plutarch and Cicero, respectively, point directly to the issue of esotericism; the third, in Aelian, to the very nature of philosophy. Plutarch implies that by the subordination of natural necessities to more divine principles Plato made philosophy safe for the city (Nicias 23.5); and in the Tusculan Disputations (5.4.11), Cicero remarks that he followed the way of Socrates, as it was made known by Plato, in his own dialogues, in concealing his own opinions, relieving others of error, and seeking in every dispute what is most like to the truth. Aelian tells the story of the painter Pauson who was hired to paint a racehorse rolling in dust and instead painted it running, and when his patron objected Pauson told him to turn it upside down, and Aelian says that there was much talk to the effect that this resembled the speeches of Socrates." — Seth Benardete