Polus And Socrates Analysis

1911 Words 8 Pages
Plato distinguishes an orator from a philosopher in Gorgias by using Chaerephon and Polus’ discussion, or rather, Polus’ avoidance of the profound topic Chaerephon introduced. He also utilizes the debate between Polus and Socrates to illustrate that Socratic discussion--not an oratorical method of speech--is the only legitimate philosophical path of discovering the truth. Plato, through this debate, later shows the importance of Socratic discussion as a way to comprehend abstract ideas more deeply in philosophy by employing Socrates to develop the idea of happiness as a state of being--proving Polus ' simplistic theory incorrect--in his last refutation.
In the beginning of the book, Plato orchestrates a debate between Chaerephon and Polus
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In this moment, Polus only has the capacity to agree or disagree when Socrates presents the idea of shame since Polus never considers shame as a factor of happiness. Plato shows that Polus never profoundly elaborated the true meaning of happiness; he only analyzed it on the surface level and only thought of happiness as the feeling in the moment since his entire argument was that escaping punishment was the sole way to achieve happiness and he did not consider any other factors that could affect happiness. Whenever Socrates behaves as a philosopher should and challenges Polus’ comprehension of happiness by asking him any questions regarding shame as a factor that affects happiness; Polus can only respond with “evidently,” “yes, I think so,” and “necessarily” (475 d, 476 b). Plato uses Polus’ shallow responses to exemplify that Polus, who is a known orator, never considered happiness as a state of being, but rather only viewed it as a feeling in the moment. This is unlike the philosopher Socrates, who is capable of seeing that there are more contributing factors to happiness and in turn is able to challenge Polus’ first glance of the conceptual idea of happiness. After this discussion, Plato’s audience can see that Polus only analyzed happiness purely at the surface level since he only thinks of punishment is purely “a bad thing," since it would make anyone upset and miserable at the moment; he failed to contemplate a deeper meaning of happiness without the discussion he and Socrates underwent (470 a). In this example, Plato shows how their discussion ultimately forces both of them to think about their views of happiness on a deeper level by factoring in the idea of shame as a

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