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Plato and Rhetoric BC (81yrs.)

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Presentation on theme: "Plato and Rhetoric BC (81yrs.)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Plato and Rhetoric 427-346 BC (81yrs.)
Life son of wealthy & influential Athenian parents began his philosophical career as a student of Socrates when Socrates died, Plato traveled to Egypt and Italy, studied with students of Pythagoras, and spent several years advising the ruling family of Syracuse. Eventually, returned to Athens & established his own school of philosophy at the Academy. 1

2 Plato For students, Plato tried to pass on the heritage of a Socratic style of thinking The written dialogues on which his enduring reputation rests also serve both of these aims. Primary Focus: Attack Sophists

3 Plato on Rhetoric Three works on Rhetoric:
The Apology (we’re not reading) The Gorgias--attack on Sophistic practice of rhetoric The Phaedrus--development of a true rhetoric

4 The Gorgias (385 BC) An early work Major ideas implied or stated
Dialectic nature of truth “remembered” in dialogue among experts Rhetoric is pre-selected communication in order to defend opinions

5 The Gorgias Attacking Rhetoric
Three rounds of speeches First round: Gorgias and Socrates Rhetoric’s nature and uses Definition--is rhetoric a true art? Second round: Polus and Socrates Rhetoric is just a knack for creating persuasive speeches that lack foundation in justice/truth Third round: Challicles and Socrates Pursuit of power without knowledge of justice perpetuates injustice

6 The Gorgias Continued Topics Theme The basis of justice
What is the nature of rhetoric? Does rhetoric by its very nature tend to mislead? What happens to a society when persuasion is a basis for law and justice? Theme The basis of justice Doxa (mere public opinion) vs Episteme (true knowledge)

7 Socrates/Plato & Gorgias Round One
Socrates/Plato: What is the art or techne (knowledge) rhetoric offers? (a question) Gorgias: Rhetoric is concerned with words, persuasive words. Socrates/Plato: Not a definition, because all disciplines use persuasion. Episteme (true knowledge) vs pistis (mere opinion).

8 Socrates/Plato & Gorgias Round One Continued
Justice involves episteme. Justice is a lofty, time consuming topic. Public is ignorant. The rhetorician, then, is not a teacher of law courts and other public gatherings as to what is right or wrong, but merely a creator of beliefs; for evidently he could never instruct so large a gathering in so short a time.

9 Socrates/Plato & Polus Round Two
Socrates vs Polus (the colt) Polus: “Rhetoric is the greatest power in the country.” Plato: Comparisons The arts vs sham arts

10 Socrates/Plato & Polus Round Two: True and Sham Arts
The Arts of Health Body Soul Maintain: gymnastics legislation Restore: medicine justice The Sham Arts of Health Maintain: make-up sophistic Restore: cookery rhetoric

11 Socrates/Plato & Callicles Round Three
Callicles: Natural Justice or the rule of the intelligent over the baser. Machiavellian approach to power--gained without pursuit of or attention to justice.

12 Major Claims in Gorgias
Sophistic rhetoric is misleading--designed to convince audience they’re dealing with truth when they’re really perpetuating opinion Rejection of transient notion of truth (time, justice and juries) rhetoric seeks persuasion while philosophy seeks truth

13 The Phaedrus (367 BC) Twenty years after the Gorgias
deals with the "nature (phusis)" of the soul” Three Major Parts separated by interludes

14 The Phaedrus Continued
Content: Socrates in conversation with a young sophist student Intellectually and physically attractive Love: “divine madness” a “trance entered by poets” The Soul has three parts

15 The Phaedrus Continued
A techne of rhetoric A true or just rhetoric

16 Phaedrus Con Part One: The soulless speeches: Lysias' speech and Socrates' 1st speech The definition of love Its effects on the beloved

17 Phaedrus Con Part Two: Socrates' Second Speech: The speech on the soul
nature of the soul and behavior "in heaven” 1.1. The soul as principle and the image of the winged chariot 1.2. Divine souls and their journey toward "what really is” 1.3. Human souls and their wandering within bodies

18 Part Two con Socrates' Second Speech: The speech on the soul
idea of beauty and its effects on embodied human souls 2.1. Role of "ideas" in human life and privilege of beauty 2.2. Effects of beauty on man's soul 2.3. Consequences depending on which god the soul followed

19 Part Two con Socrates' Second Speech: The speech on the soul
behavior of loving and loved souls here on earth 3.1. Behavior of the lover 3.2. Behavior of the loved one 3.3. Styles of life that may result and conclusion regarding Lysias

20 The three parts (Charioteer) Loves wisdom
The Phaedrus & the Soul The three parts (Charioteer) Loves wisdom Loves nobility and honor Loves appetite or lusts

21 Phaedrus Part Three Socrates' Third Speech: Dialogue on Rhetoric
From false rhetoric to true dialectic The dialectician and the rhetorician From false dialectic to true rhetoric

22 The Phaedrus & Rhetoric
Rhetoric therefore is the art of influencing souls Psychagogia “leading souls” Know “the truth” first Adapting to audience’s soul is the art of rhetoric--soul of love, soul of honor, soul of lust Justice is realized when the lower submits to lover of wisdom.

23 The Phaedrus (Comments/Criticisms)
The relationship of rhetoric to truth discover? or propagate? (mere advocacy) Create the truth? Rhetoric and Dialectic both can produce evil Listen for soul--Remembering? Is this tradition or God?

24 The Phaedrus (Comments/Criticisms)
Kennedy p. 58 “Plato’s is an impractical rhetoric, How can we know everyone's soul? Yet, we can know our soul “that which is most personal is also most general” Plato starts with ontology or being, thus soul talk is remembering or recalling (reincarnation)

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