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Plato and Rhetoric 427-346 BC (81yrs.)  Life  son of wealthy & influential Athenian parents  began his philosophical career as a student of Socrates.

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Presentation on theme: "Plato and Rhetoric 427-346 BC (81yrs.)  Life  son of wealthy & influential Athenian parents  began his philosophical career as a student of Socrates."— Presentation transcript:

1 Plato and Rhetoric 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.

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  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  Body Soul  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 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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