Gorgias' defense: Plato and his opponents on rhetoric and the good

Southern Journal of Philosophy 48 (1):95-121 (2010)
This paper explores in detail Gorgias' defense of rhetoric in Plato 's Gorgias, noting its connections to earlier and later texts such as Aristophanes' Clouds, Gorgias' Helen, Isocrates' Nicocles and Antidosis, and Aristotle's Rhetoric. The defense as Plato presents it is transparently inadequate; it reveals a deep inconsistency in Gorgias' conception of rhetoric and functions as a satirical precursor to his refutation by Socrates. Yet Gorgias' defense is appropriated, in a streamlined form, by later defenders of rhetoric such as Isocrates and Aristotle. They present it as an effective reductio against a critique of rhetoric that depends on the "harm criterion." This is puzzling, since Plato 's own critique of rhetoric does not depend on the harm criterion. On the other hand, Plato does seem to embrace the harm criterion as a more general principle—as if pre-emptively embracing the reductio —in his arguments about the good in the Meno and Euthydemus. Nonetheless, Isocrates and Aristotle seem to be deliberately misreading Plato on rhetoric: where he intends to criticize its intrinsic nature, they respond as if he were merely complaining about its contingent effects
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2010.01007.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive Rachel Barney, Gorgias' defense: Plato and his opponents on rhetoric and the good
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Terence Irwin (1995). Plato's Ethics. Oxford University Press.

View all 32 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

160 ( #25,629 of 1,940,950 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

22 ( #25,481 of 1,940,950 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.