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Rhetoric beyond Arguments: Thinking about the Role of Fictional Audiences in Plato’s Gorgias

Rhetoric beyond Arguments: Thinking about the Role of Fictional Audiences in Plato’s Gorgias AbstractIn this piece, I propose a reading of Plato’s Gorgias that pays special attention to the role that the fictional audience plays in the unfolding of the dialogue. To this end, I use some of the insights that Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts–Tyteca conveyed in their seminal work, The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation in order to argue that thinking about the way in which Socrates’ arguments are shaped by the different audiences that Gorgias, Polus, and Callicles aim to address and represent provides us with a new hermeneutical understanding of what is at stake in each of the different interactions Socrates engages in throughout the dialogue. In unpacking the way in which Socrates appropriates Gorgias’ particular audience, transforms Polus’ universal audience, and challenges Callicles’ elite audience, I provide an outline of the difficulties that Plato’s Socrates has to overcome in order to achieve the ‘community of minds’ that Perelman and Olbrechts–Tyteca identify as the bedrock of fruitful argumentation. Having done this, in the last section I turn to Plato’s Phaedrus, for the purpose of making evident that thinking about Plato’s deployment of rhetorical audiences is a crucial step in the effort to expose the implicit continuity that links the discussion of rhetoric delivered by the Gorgias to that of the Phaedrus. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Elenchos de Gruyter

Rhetoric beyond Arguments: Thinking about the Role of Fictional Audiences in Plato’s Gorgias

Elenchos , Volume 41 (2): 27 – Dec 16, 2020

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
0392-7342
eISSN
2037-7177
DOI
10.1515/elen-2020-0013
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractIn this piece, I propose a reading of Plato’s Gorgias that pays special attention to the role that the fictional audience plays in the unfolding of the dialogue. To this end, I use some of the insights that Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts–Tyteca conveyed in their seminal work, The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation in order to argue that thinking about the way in which Socrates’ arguments are shaped by the different audiences that Gorgias, Polus, and Callicles aim to address and represent provides us with a new hermeneutical understanding of what is at stake in each of the different interactions Socrates engages in throughout the dialogue. In unpacking the way in which Socrates appropriates Gorgias’ particular audience, transforms Polus’ universal audience, and challenges Callicles’ elite audience, I provide an outline of the difficulties that Plato’s Socrates has to overcome in order to achieve the ‘community of minds’ that Perelman and Olbrechts–Tyteca identify as the bedrock of fruitful argumentation. Having done this, in the last section I turn to Plato’s Phaedrus, for the purpose of making evident that thinking about Plato’s deployment of rhetorical audiences is a crucial step in the effort to expose the implicit continuity that links the discussion of rhetoric delivered by the Gorgias to that of the Phaedrus.

Journal

Elenchosde Gruyter

Published: Dec 16, 2020

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