Techne and the Problem of Socratic Philosophy in the Gorgias

Apeiron 38 (4):185-227 (2005)
In Plato’s Gorgias, Socrates argues that philosophy is superior to rhetoric in part because the former is a techne while the latter is not. I argue that the Socratic practice of philosophy within this dialogue fails to qualify as a techne for exactly the same reasons that rhetoric fails to qualify as a techne. In doing so, I introduce a new kind of Socratic ignorance: methodological ignorance. I reject both Charles Kahn’s account of the relationship between the dialogue’s dramatic and philosophical contents, and Thomas Brickhouse and Nicholas Smith’s claim that Socrates never regarded his practice as a techne.
Keywords Plato  Socrates  Gorgias  Techne  Rhetoric  Kahn  Brickhouse and Smith  Socratic Ignorance
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