This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Rhetoric, Paideia And The Phaedrus Essay

3353 words - 13 pages

Rhetoric, Paideia and the Phaedrus

ABSTRACT: Some of the notorious interpretive puzzles of the Phaedrus arise from reading it in terms of a static version of mimesis; hence, the concerns about its apparent failure to enact its own norms and the status of its own self-commentaries. However, if the dialogue is read in the light of the more dynamic model of a perfectionist paideia — that is, Plato’s portrayal of Socrates as attempting to woo Phaedrus to philosophy (with only partial success) is itself a rhetorical attempt to woo the appropriate reader — then many of the puzzles fall into place as part of the rhetorical strategy. The apparent lack of formal unity arises out of Phaedrus’ own deficiencies; the written dialogue turns out precisely not to fall foul of the criticisms of writing that it contains, and its self-commentaries can be given their appropriate ironic weight. On this reading, a Platonic conception of philosophy that embodies yet transcends the dialectical is given persuasive expression.

The interpretative puzzles of the Phaedrus are notorious: from a rhetorical point of view it is far from clear that it exhibits the organic unity it apparently endorses, from a philosophical one it exhibits in partially dialectical writing a critique of dialectical writing, while its self-commentary on its own set speeches is puzzling — not least the degree of endorsement it allows to the associations between mania, eros, poetry and philosophy rhetorically presented in Socrates' second speech.

Richard Rutherford's recent discussion of these issues (1995: chap. 9) provides a helpful starting point. He plausibly argues for reading Socrates' second speech in the light of the wider dialogue — not least in the light of the Phaedrus' own insistence (264c) that every logos should be a coherent whole — and points out that Socrates declares that in his second speech or 'Palinode' he 'was forced to use somewhat poetical language because of Phaedrus' (257a). Rutherford goes on to propose that the Phaedrus is concerned with 'a vital choice Phaedrus must make, ... concerned with love' — being properly read 'in part as a conversation-dialogue, presenting the process of Phaedrus' turning to philosophy' (1995: p. 248-9); thus we see 'Socrates as a lover wooing Phaedrus' to philosophy. (p. 247)

On this account, Socrates enacts in the dialogue the different varieties of good madness expounded in the Palinode (p. 262), and the latter 'exemplifies the rhetorical and persuasive skills which Socrates requires of the true orator in the second half of the dialogue' (p. 257). However, Socrates himself acknowledges (265b) that he has not in fact 'produced a perfect and uniform work such as that he describes as the ideal', and Rutherford suggests that 'the same is true of Plato's achievement (or deliberate underachievement) in the Phaedrus as a whole'. This feature both points to 'the imperfections of the written word, to the unfinished nature of this, and...

Find Another Essay On Rhetoric, Paideia and the Phaedrus

The relationship between rhetoric and science

755 words - 4 pages The lack of understanding by the general public as well as higher intellectuals on the relationship between rhetoric and science has lead to wasted potential - potential for sparking discussion, promoting action or furthering scientific understanding in the general public. There is place for rhetoric in science and science in rhetoric. In order to understand the relationship, one must understand each separately. Scientists are in pursuit of

Rhetoric Challenges the Virtue of Society and Individuals

1575 words - 6 pages Rhetoric is something that we use constantly in our everyday life. Unbeknown to us, we have been using the persuasive appeals of pathos, ethos and logos even for the most mundane things. Rhetoric can be seen everywhere in our everyday’s lives in form of media, religion, politics, government propaganda, historic references and social media. We should learn to identify and appropriately use the different categories of rhetoric expressions in an

The Importance of Rhetoric and Discussion of Freedom of Speech

1710 words - 7 pages implications of prejudice speech as he does not view the damage of hateful words as even comparable to the act of a real physical and loathsome violence. In the end, Rauch‘s essay conveys a stronger and more effective argument because of his use of persuasive rhetoric, thorough evidence that he encompasses, and extensive use of integrated sources. Rhetoric can be looked at as a verbal ornament, but is seen by scholars as not only one of the most

The Rhetoric of LBJ: Speech Addressing Discrimination and Voting Right Legislation

1020 words - 4 pages , healthy, housed, and employed, a nation in which the experience of freedom and democracy flows from those principles. Studying President Johnson's speech is significant as a reminder that the language of the American Promise has been a site of struggle throughout the nation's history. Though they are universal terms in American political rhetoric, freedom and equality are part of an ongoing process of definition and

An esaay evaluating and explaining symbolism and rhetoric devices used in the novel The Stranger

705 words - 3 pages In Albert Camus' absurdist novel, The Stranger, Meursault's detachment from society and his killing of the Arab reveal moral and ethical implications for him and his society. As is common in many absurdist novels, Camus discusses the estrangement - and later development - of an individual in a benign and indifferent universe, one in which conformity prevails. Camus not only satirizes the conformity of society, but religion and the legal system

Phaedrus

2292 words - 9 pages Purposely difficult and intentionally obsessive, Plato’s Phaedrus is an exceedingly difficult read that defies all conventional logic as a piece of discourse. The text is extremely subjective, open to interpretation and individual creativity as to what or whom the narrative is about. Written by Plato, a close disciple of Socrates, this text is set along the Illissus river where Phaedrus and Socrates meet for a day of speech, debate, rhetoric

Socrates on The Dangers of Writing

2358 words - 9 pages rhetoric and writing will be the main points of this paper. The first thing one must consider is whether there is any merit in writing or rhetoric. According to Socrates, speech writing is not bad. The only way it can ever be bad is if it is not done well. Therefore, one must consider what is necessary for writing well. Socrates proposes that in order to write well, one must know what is true about his subject. However, Phaedrus points out that

Plato's Views on the Technology of Writing

1115 words - 4 pages Phaedrus’ speech and at one point it almost seems as if he wants to change his mind. This is the advantage with rhetoric. If he really wanted to, Phaedrus could change his speech. Authors don’t really have that luxury. Once a book is in print, they can’t change their mind. For example, say a critic says that an author’s introduction was horrible and should be rewritten. The author doesn’t get the chance to rewrite the introduction. Chances

Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

5301 words - 21 pages mad personality. This earlier self, whom he now calls "Phaedrus," had gone mad as a result of a search for Truth which led him ultimately to repudiate Reason itself.[1] Pursuing the "ghost of reason" through Western science, Eastern philosophy, and rhetoric, Phaedrus found Reason to be "emotionally hollow, esthetically meaningless and spiritually empty" (Pirsig 110). But he had no place to flee; and, without an alternative to Reason, he simply

Paideia: Teaching to Students’ Individual Learning Styles

2259 words - 9 pages The Paideia Proposal was created by Mortimer J. Adler to overcome elitism in the school system and replace it with a true democratic system. The Paideia Proposal aims to improve the quality of schools in America and to make education available to all students (Adler, 1984). To meet student individual needs educators need to adjust their instructional teaching strategies (Nolen, 2003). Educators need to be aware of how their students learn and

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Quality

926 words - 4 pages on the question. Pirsig explores the other philosophical life values in the next few chapters, especially focusing on the difference between Classical and Romantic views. Quality is not mentioned again until Chapter 15, where Pirsig and Chris revisit the college where Pirsig’s former self, Phaedrus, taught. While at the college, Pirsig comes across his old office, and is overcome with memories of his breakthroughs in philosophical thought. One

Similar Essays

Paideia And The Matter Of Mind

3442 words - 14 pages Paideia and the "Matter of Mind" ABSTRACT: Paideia refers to a particular sort of education which has historically been concerned with learning for the sake of learning, i.e., for the development of mind. As such, paideia is distinguished from specialized learning, training and learning for extrinsic purposes. Paideia is embodied in the traditional notion of Liberal Education which holds that such an education is the development of mind

The Composition And Rhetoric Field Essay

1034 words - 4 pages Composition and Rhetoric (a.k.a. Writing Studies): A Flexible Field In his essay, "Teach Writing as a Process not a Product," Donald Murray outlines the major difference between the traditional pedagogy that directed the teaching of writing in the past and his newly hailed model. Traditionally, Murray explains, English teachers were taught to teach and evaluate students' writing as if it was a finished product of literature when, as he has

The Direct And Indirect Impact Of Rhetoric

663 words - 3 pages The Direct and Indirect Impact of Rhetoric           In the world that we live in, rhetoric always affects and is a part of everything that happens. Rhetoric, in its broadest sense, is communication, and how people relate to each other. The movie The Color Purple is about relationships. Therefore rhetoric plays a very important role in this movie. Throughout The Color Purple the impact

Aristotle And The Techne Of Rhetoric

1433 words - 6 pages Aristotle and the Techne of Rhetoric Between the third and fifth centuries B.C. there existed a “golden and classical age” of thought in the ancient world, with the majority of this activity centered in the polis of Athens, Greece. Although the city is historically recognized for its legendary conflict with rival polis Sparta, Athens is perhaps best known for the creation of democracy—that noble political experiment that laid the