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Commentary On Yunis

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Chapter Summary

Yunis agrees with the analysis of the Phaedrus and raises three points that arise from it. First, it is hard to square the Gorgias with the Phaedrus. The former attacks rhetoric per se; the latter claims that rhetoric is a good thing if used by philosophers, but fails to provide criteria for distinguishing philosophical from political rhetoric. Second, the idea that dialectic embellishes rhetoric both undermines the Gorgias further and seems problematic in itself: it is implausible that dialectic is the key to 'transformative' persuasion. Third, Plato's conception of the relationship between rhetoric and philosophy shows us that he separates the task of searching for ethical truths from the task of persuading others, when it seems more reasonable to treat persuasion as an important part of the search, and leads him to the troubling conclusion that philosophers are entitled to be dishonest.

Keywords: Gorgias; Phaedrus; Plato; Yunis



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