Plato, Phaedrus 263b6

Classical Quarterly 36 (01):263- (1986)
Οκον τν μέλλοντα τέχνην ητορικν μετιέναι πρτον μέν δε τατα δ διρσθαι, κα εληέναι τιν χαρακτρα κατέρου το εδουδ, ν ᾧ τε νγκη τ πλθος πλανσθαι Kα ν ᾧ μή . To the best of my knowledge the soundness of the first six words of this sentence has never been questioned, yet to accept them as they are in the manuscripts means to close one's eyes to the direction of the argument. At 260d5–9 rhetoric personified and allowed to plead its case makes the ‘big’ statement that anyone learning how to speak would do well to know the truth about his subject but that even if he knows it he would not be able νεν μο, i.e. without the aid of rhetoric, πείθειν τέχν. From that point on the issues are whether rhetoric justly claims to be a τέχν, what territory it covers and how the procedure of someone practising it τέχν may differ from that of one for whom it is an τεχνος τριβή . Even if rhetoric engages in πάτη and proves e.g. one and the same thing to be both just and unjust , success will be with τέχν τοτο δρν ; witness Zeno of Elea, a master in such arguments λέγοντα τέχν when he makes the same things appear like and unlike or one and many . To judge shrewdly what kind of subjects deceive people more easily the rhetorician himself must have a firm grasp of the truth: λόγων ρα τέχνην, ταρε, τν λήθειαν μ εδώς, δόξας δ τεθηρευκώς, γελοίαν τινά, ς οικε, κα τεχνον παρέξεται
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DOI 10.1017/S0009838800010752
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