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Plato and Rhetoric 427-346 BC (81yrs.) Life –Wealthy traveling Athenian –Alfred North Whitehead ”footnotes” –Philosopher of forms, “idealism” Impetus:

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Presentation on theme: "Plato and Rhetoric 427-346 BC (81yrs.) Life –Wealthy traveling Athenian –Alfred North Whitehead ”footnotes” –Philosopher of forms, “idealism” Impetus:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Plato and Rhetoric BC (81yrs.) Life –Wealthy traveling Athenian –Alfred North Whitehead ”footnotes” –Philosopher of forms, “idealism” Impetus: Attack Sophists May have coined the word “Rhetoric”

2 Plato Perfect Form

3 Plato Close-up

4 Plato on Rhetoric Three works on Rhetoric: -The Apology -The Gorgias -The Phaedrus

5 The Apology (399 BC) After the fact version of Socrates’ trial Socrates is charged with –Atheism –Corruption of youth Believes truth is –self evident and personal –refuses to use ad hominem argument and appeals to pathos as the sophists do –Kennedy (pp ) Click here for pages.here

6 Socrates Truth

7 Socrates The Hemlock

8 The Gorgias (385 BC) 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

9 The Gorgias Attacking Rhetoric Three rounds of speeches –First Gorgias and Socrates –Second Polus and Socrates –Third Challicles and Socrates

10 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? (Herrick, p. 54) Theme –The basis of justice –Doxa (mere public opinion) vs Episteme (true knowledge)

11 Socrates/Plato and 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.

12 Socrates/Plato and 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 (445) (Herrick, p. 56).

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

14 Socrates/Plato and 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

15 Socrates/Plato and Callicles Round Three Callicles: Natural Justice or the rule of the intelligent over the baser. Machiavellian A wann’a be? A Yuppie? A Republican? (the ladder of success--”pull it up after you”)

16 Reflections on the Gorgias Rhetoric merely a means to justice: A Representational Model of Communication Plato rejects sophists arguments and uses them: probabilities, ridicule (Albert Einstein) Revenge on Callicles Rejection of transient notion of truth (time, justice and juries)

17 The Phaedrus (367 BC) Twenty years after the Gorgias An older, mellower Plato Gorgias “anger,” Phaedras “love” Gorgias “in the name of morality reject rhetoric”Romilly, p. 71

18 The Phaedrus (continued) Content: A conversation with a young sophist student Intellectually and physically attractive Love: “divine madness” a “trance entered by poets” The Soul has three parts

19 The Phaedrus and the Soul The three parts (Charioteer) 1. Loves wisdom 2. Loves nobility and honor 3. Loves appetite or lusts Richard Weaver--Rhetoric as: –Rape, Seduction, or Love

20 The Phaedrus and Rhetoric Rhetoric therefore is the art of influencing souls Psychagogia “leading souls” Know “the truth” first, then Adapting to audience’s soul is the art of rhetoric-- soul of love, soul of honor, soul of lust Is “soul talk” the same as “understanding” or “meeting of meaning?” Justice is realized when the lower submits to lover of wisdom. (Micah 6:8—justly, love mercy, walk humbly)

21 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?

22 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) Comparing the Gorgias and the Phaedrus (overhead) Are our minds like his? Alfred North Whitehead

23 The Phaedrus (Comments/Criticisms) Do you believe in true love? Do you know Clinton is lying? Others? How can you know what you have never experienced? Remembering? Comparing Gorgias to Phaedrus (click here)here

24 Two Language Realities Sophists Plato Experiential Reflectionism The Words Ideas Clinton Presidential


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