Hence came about that split-absurd, harmful and deplorable as it is- between the tongue and the mind, whereby one group of people teaches us to be wise, another to be eloquent.
(Cicero, De Oratore 3.61)
For much of the history of European culture, philosophy and rhetoric have been regarded as indispensable categories in the analysis of intellectual activity and in the organisation of academic or scholastic institutions. Yet during many periods of this history there has been uncertainty and debate about the scope of philosophy and rhetoric as individual pursuits or disciplines, and therefore about the relationship that does or should obtain between them. One of the most notable exemplifications of this statement is the very period in which articulate concepts of philosophy and rhetoric first began to emerge—the classical period of fifth—and fourth-century Greece, above all in the cosmopolitan culture of Athens which either produced or attracted most of the protagonists in a controversy which was to have lasting repercussions for the history of ideas. It is easy, with hindsight, to characterise this controversy as a confrontation between philosophy and rhetoric. But it is safe to do so only if, from the outset, we appreciate two essential qualifications called for by this description.
The first is that to regard the phenomenon in these terms is almost inescapably to observe it, in some measure at least, from the point of view adopted by two of its participants, Plato and Aristotle. Not only are their ideas most fully known to us, but also they have been profoundly influential in establishing the very categories which we now use to understand the cultural setting in which those ideas were created and shaped. For it was these two