Plato: ca. 428-347 B.C. “PHAEDRUS”: 53-86
How does Socrates define the art of rhetoric? How does this definition relate to Socrates’ second speech?
In the Phaedrus, when Socrates presents what he calls an art of rhetoric as an alternative to the rhetoric of the days, it appears to be a private one, the possession of someone who understands the souls of those he encounters and knows which speeches are fitting differ from soul to soul (271B-E), because the true art of rhetoric Socrates describes in the Phaedrus is “the rhetoric art, taken as a whole, guiding the soul by speech, not only in the public occasions but also in private.” (261A) Socrates compares rhetoric to those things traditionally considered art has no specific theme or object to serve as the basis for those practicing. Based on the fact that rhetoric (as the art of persuasion) cannot meet the definition of an art, Socrates concludes it is no art (260E). For example, Socrates indicate that those cunning people (like Lysias), who is being called “dialecticians”, they boast that they know all about the soul things to cover up the real truth. If the dialogue (speech) can reveal what the rhetoric and the true state of human soul is in the real situation, then it is will be welcomed. There is no absolutely true speech, never will be. And speech is not a product of art (271C). Even at the deception and concealment for the purpose of rhetoric, in order to achieve the best results, we must examine and understand the basis of the real situation. The gist of his argument is that when we compare rhetoric to other “arts,” it doesn’t fit the description; hence we shouldn’t even call it an art. We should not convince those writing which on the basis of art.
Socrates also said that serious philosophers do not engage in writing, even if the writing is only for purposes of self-entertainment. For instance, Socrates compare philosopher with sensible farmer who can produce fruit without using his farming...