Socrates Use Of Rhetoric In Plato's Gorgias

Decent Essays
In Plato’s Gorgias, there is a common theme in Socrates’ ideas, where his view of rhetoric has no base on truth. Socrates outlines two forms of persuasion, providing knowledge and belief without knowledge, and applies rhetoric to the latter. He makes this distinction by questioning the use of rhetoric in situation about what is just and unjust, such as, a courtroom. The people of the courtroom must be convinced of what is the most just thing today, there is no possible way they could be persuaded through the provision of all the knowledge about the situation because that knowledge is unavailable to them. Therefore, the court must make their decisions on belief. Using that logic, Socrates pointed out the relationship to Gorgias, “So rhetoric …show more content…
Since the rhetorician persuades about belief, and it’s safe to assume that a person’s belief will have their best interest in mind, through rhetorical persuasion the overall best interest based on knowledge gets ignored. Socrates used an analogy of pastry cooking. The art of pastry cooking is based on knowledge, while the knack is based on belief. The truth says that the pastry is bad for a person to eat because it is unhealthy, but the belief about the pastry is a good one because it tastes better than other foods. Socrates emphasized the main idea of the analogy to Polus, “it (rhetoric) shrewdly guesses at what is pleasant, omitting what is best. And it is no art, I claim, but only a knack” (Socrates 247). Polus had tried to make the point that gratification through persuasion is a good thing, but Socrates was able to contest by reverting back to his original theme. Since rhetorical persuasion is based on belief, a person can believe they are gratified, when they are actually worse off. True gratification happens when then the persuasion is artful, or based on …show more content…
The other views pointed out problems with humans that disallow communication from being successful. Peters looked at it from a different perspective, the unfixable problem of communication is what makes humans human. Whatever communication may mean, Peters argued that it “is not a matter of improved wiring or freer self-disclosure, but involves a permanent kink in the human condition” (Peters 29). He argued that communication is not the insurmountable barrier that solitary selfhood makes it out to be, the self and the other can be connected through communication. On the other hand, he also does not believe the dream of communication should be perfect connection like it is in the semiotic view. The imperfection and confusion of communication is what allows for human emotion. Therefore, the only way to increase the “wiring” between connected humans is to become less human, which is impossible for a human. In Peters’ view, communication is accepted as a relatively weak form of transferring ideas, but humans have to make the most they can out of it because it is unchangeable. In Peters’ dream of communication, he highlighted this acceptance, “The task is to find an account of communication that erases neither the curiousness fact of otherness at its core and the possibility of doing things with words” (Peters

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