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Journal Article

Plato's Denunciation of Rhetoric in the "Phaedrus"

Brad McAdon
Rhetoric Review
Vol. 23, No. 1 (2004), pp. 21-39
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20176594
Page Count: 19
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Plato's Denunciation of Rhetoric in the "Phaedrus"
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Abstract

Contrary to a prevailing view within rhetoric and composition circles that finds a positive view of rhetoric in the "Phaedrus", I contend that Plato mockingly denounces rhetoric in the "Phaedrus". To support this claim, I argue that the "Phaedrus" is an unmistakable response to Isocrates' "Against the Sophists" and needs to be understood as part of this dynamic dialogue and that in the "Phaedrus" Plato is distinguishing his philosophical method, as he conceives it, from Isocrates' pseudo-philosophical method (as conceived by Plato). I provide parallels between "Against the Sophists" and the "Phaedrus" and then explain the distinction between Isocrates' and Plato's respective conceptions of what the philosopher is and should do and between each writer's philosophical method.

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