Persuasion: Greek Rhetoric in Action

By Ian Worthington | Go to book overview
Save to active project

W.K.C. Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy, III (Cambridge: 1969), pp. 27-34.
Cf. further below. The question of Pythagorean connections is controversial: see, for example, W.K.C. Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy, I (Cambridge: 1962), pp. 164-6, 204-5.
Cole, Origins of Rhetoric, chapter 1, especially p. 2; on the term rhetorike, p. 98 is more cautious.
The term also occurs without any sense of novelty at Euthydemus 307a6, though this may be later than the Gorgias. Isocrates 3.8 (dated c. 368) suggests that the adjective rhetorikos was established usage; cf. Plato, Republic 8.548e5. See too M. Gagarin, chapter 3 above.
Despite Cole, Origins of Rhetoric, pp. 118 and 173 n. 4, Alcidamas’ work may well be earlier than Plato’s Phaedrus: for one view, see F. Blass, Die attische Beredsamkeit2, II (Leipzig: 1892), pp. 345-6.
On Laws see C. Bobonich, ‘Persuasion, Compulsion and Freedom in Plato’s Laws’, CQ2 41 (1991), pp. 365-88. A recent, harsh account of Plato’s views of rhetoric is given by B. Vickers, In Defence of Rhetoric (Oxford: 1988), chapter 2.
Plato allows Callicles to accuse Socrates of his own rhetoric at Gorgias 482c-e. The perception of Plato’s own writing as rhetorical is at least as old as Cicero, De Oratore 1.47. One recent treatment is provided by H. North, ‘Combing & Curling: Orator Summus Plato’, ICS 16 (1991), pp. 201-19.
See R.S.W. Hawtrey, Commentary on Plato’s Euthydemus (Philadelphia: 1981), pp. 189-96.
Cf., for example, Thuc. 1.22.1 (?); Lys. 10.7; Isoc. 9.10-11 and 13.16-17. Cole, Origins of Rhetoric, chapter 1, is wrong to argue that Plato and Aristotle ‘invented’ the form-substance dichotomy in the conception of rhetoric.
When Plato accuses rhetoricians of preferring ‘probability’ (eikos) to truth (Phaedrus 267a, 272d-e), he may exaggerate their avowed position, but he makes a conceptually urgent point: if persuasion is treated as an overriding goal, then truth cannot be guaranteed to be the persuader’s best strategy in every case.
This is an instance of philosophy’s attempt to distinguish and distance itself from rhetoric by means of intellectual or argumentative method: see G.E.R. Lloyd, Magic, Reason and Experience (Cambridge: 1979), chapter 2, especially pp. 79-102.
Gorgias 484c-486c. Cf. the contrast between philosopher and rhetorician at Theaetetus 172a-177b.
There is an incidental mention of Phaedrus at 1408b20; cf. n. 14 below.
EN 1181a12-15, Rhetoric 1356a27-8 (with an allusion to Plato, Gorgias 464c); cf. Metaphysics 4.2, 1004b17-26, especially the motif of the ‘choice of life’ at 24-25 (with p. 230 above).
A further part of the formal conception is usually taken to be the category of ‘style’; but I have qualified this view in ‘Style and Sense in Aristotle Rhetoric Book 3’, Revue Internationale de Philosophie 47 (1993), pp. 50-69.
Likewise with dialectic: Rhetoric 1355a33 ff., Topics 163a36 ff.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Persuasion: Greek Rhetoric in Action


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 278

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?