argument map, Socrates position regarding logic. A key element for this argument which I
would like to further explore is the notion that if an argument lacks logic, then it is immoral.
Although this statement refers to many possible topics, 1 would like to focus on how Socrates discusses the limits of claim which lack truth and how he uses the metaphor of the horse to support this: “If I were persuading you to defend yourself against the enemy by getting a horse neither of us knew what a horse was, but 1 happened to know just so much about you, that Phaedrus thinks a horse is that tame animal which has the largest ears" (42). There are man ways to interpret Plato's position here, but the metaphor about the horse, as far as I am concerned would be an appropriate place to look at the manner in which Plato embraces the concept of truth.
Another area that 1 would like to explore, provided that it is not to broad is what the relationship is between love and truth as it applies to rhetoric. Take for example, love or eros - which is a form of passion, which in turn, is a form of emotion. Rhetoric does have emotional appeals; just like love: "understand that the friendship of a lover does not come with goodwill; it's like an appetite for food, for the purpose of filling up - as wolves love lambs, so is lover's affection for a boy" (20)- Although comments such as this one are seen by some as having a sexual connotation, another way to look at it is in regards to emotional appeals. That is, Socrates is clearly passionate about truth, and the way in which he appeals to his audience about it, in a passionate manner, suggest that love and truth should get married under to holy matrimony of rhetoric!
Truth or logi on the other hand, controls that horse of love: ''Now the region above the heavens has never yet been celebrated as it deserves to be by any earthly poet, nor will it ever be. But it is like this - for one must be bold enough to say what is true, especially when speaking about truth" (27). Here Socrates is explaining the divinity of truth which is a reference to the soul: "the chariots of the gods travel easily, being well balanced and easily controlled, while the rest do so with difficulty; for the horse that is partly bad weighs them down, inclining them towards the earth through its weight, if any of the charioteers has not trained him well. Here it is that the final labor, the final contest, awaits the soul" (27} The final contest here, being the truth; however, it would be difficult to obtain the truth if one did not have to passion or eros to seek it in the first place. This - at least - is my interpretation of what Plato is suggesting here.
A third option for me would be to analyze classification and division which comes down to the dispute about whether or not a piece of writing is scientific" "1 myself, Phaedrus, blame the gods of the place; and perhaps too the spokesmen of the Muses who sing over our heads may have breathed this gift upon us - for I don't think 1 share in any science of speaking" (46). Perhaps 1 could look at what Plato means in regards to the "science of thinking".
Socrates gives a definition of rhetoric in Phaedrus. He says that one must know the
audience being addressed in order to be persuasive. Socrates demonstrates this with his first
speech to Phaedrus about the disadvantage of a sincere lover. In my paper, I will analyze
Socrates's delineation of what constitutes rhetoric, and will show that he follows his own rules
when delivering his first speech to Phaedrus. I will argue that Socrates applies his definition of
rhetoric with his speech.
I am really interested in what makes Lysias' and Socrates' speech on love work. When I first read Pheadrus' reading Lysias' speech, I thought that several ofthe points he made about why it is better to be a non-lover really connected with me, even as a modem day reader. Then I read what Herrick wrote about Lysias' speech in chapter 3 of his book in which he writes, "But it proves a rambling and sophomoric affair of no merit whatever. The speech argues that it is better to be a 'non-lover' than a true lover'. That is, to care nothing for a lover is better than to actually care for him" (Herrick 61). Herrick goes on to write that Socrates' speech is better organized and argued than Lysias' speech. I felt kind of swerved when I read that. Was I not supposed to agree with anything in Lysisas' speech? In chapter four, Herrick then writes according to Aristotle, "Successful rhetoric must connect with what that audience believes". Did Lysias have a specific audience when he wrote his speech? If so, then did Lysias not connect with that audience and what that audience believes in by considering the enthymeme? I would like to explore in what ways was Lysias' speech rhetorically successful, if it was.
It is my understanding that Plato believes in some form of Platonic Truth which can rarely
be achieved/ seen but must be strived to. In Phaedrus, he briefly explains his belief in reincarnation (in interestingly never noting whether an individual can make it to Hades or the Elysian Fields) towards this perfect Platonic Truth but does not denote whether it would happen. He does denote that if one is not of honor then it would take 3000 years to climb ending at a 10000 year destination. SocrateslPlato is not concretely clear as to whether this is dependent upon the individual's past life and in relation to how high up he can see (the past life in turn dictated by the analogy of the charioteer). He does denote that an individual's past life can bring them down and push them up but there is an ambiguous passage indicating that the souls would invariably be brought up from the depths and to the celestial regions with or without enlightenment. What good then is the search for Truth or the engagement of rhetoric in those terms?
Nature and humanity have a strange duality throughout the Phaedrus, where nature/animals hold divinity which helps men find their passage. Through the analogy of the charioteer we see two mythical creatures (winged horses) that are neither good nor evil (merely holding negative and positive traits) but respond to both the world around them and the charioteer's observations (it is the charioteer that recognizes beauty, not the horses). The dance between the horses and the charioteer helps to shape the charioteer; just as the cicadas are formed from sacrifice and help give the god's good recommendations; just as the town teaches Socrates but nature allows him to be a place where he can flourish. Is this divine inspiration? What would be the purpose of having Socrates represent Plato as an individual balancing nature as the divine?
(I truly have no idea what to write. I do like the Phaedrus and I find more interest in the initial speeches given then the dissection of them. Any suggestion or critique of my misinterpretations would be appreciated.)
In Plato's Phaedrus, how does Socrates distinguish rhetoric as practiced by the sophists from his own beliefs about what rhetoric should be?
In Plato's Phaedrus, does Socrates succeed at distinguishing his rejection of pandering from his advice to tailor rhetoric to a particular audience?
For our first paper I would like to approach the topic of Socrates realization that he may have offended the Gods in his first speech, through his use of rhetoric about love and 'the lover' /'non-lover' .
At the end of speech one, Socrates becomes concerned about what will happen to his soul if he doesn't recant, in the form of a palinode, the untrue things that he said about love. He explains to Phaedrus, the hierarchy of humans and his belief that if he follows the practices of the Gods, he will end up at the top of the hierarchy, having attained the ultimate truth, where his soul will remain immortal. This all brings up the question of what was his motivation in giving the first speech and why did he approach it knowing that what he was saying was not true?
1. In the Phaedrus, I would like to examine the last section of the text regarding the exchange between Socrates and Phaedrus about what constitutes effective rhetoric. Specifically, Socrates states, "So what is the way to write well or badly? Do we need, Phaedrus, to examine Lysias, perhaps, on this subject, and anyone else who has so far written anything, or will write anything, whether it's a political composition or a private one, and whether it as a poet, in verse, or in plain man's prose?" (40-41). This is an interesting topic as a whole because it brings up an reoccurring argument that Socrates makes about how effective can rhetoric be with the absence of knowledge? This appears to be one of the underlining themes in most of the texts that we have read currently.
This argument can be applied to the Phaedrus in its entirety because the premise of the text is using love as a metaphor in determining the most effective use of rhetoric. How do we arrive at a conclusion? Can we arrive at a conclusion?
2. As an alternative, I would also like to examine Socrates's argument in Gorgias concerning the fact that rhetoric should be used as a measure for restoring ones' soul versus escaping injustice.
The only use of rhetoric is that it enables a man to Socrates, Polus, Callicles.expose his own injustice and to petition for speedy punishment. Then rhetoric is of no use to us, Polus in helping a man to excuse his own injustice, or that of his parents, or friends, or children or country .... he should bring to light the iniquity and not conceal it, that so the wrong-doer may suffer and be made whole (24).
Socrates is concerned with rhetoric being used wisely and responsibly rather than its use by the Sophist as an element of trickery or flattery to escape punishment, which is not effective because a person can never arrive at a truth and maintain a healthy soul if the soul of an individual has been diluted by persuasion. In Herrick it reads, "thus rhetoric ought to be employed to bring oneself and one's friends to justice. This is consistent with Plato's vie of justice as an art that restores health to the soul" (57).
I would like to examine how this metaphor of justice for the sake of the soul is more effective than Polus's argument concerning rhetoric.
Both of my paper topic ideas center on Plato's Phaedrus. I am intrigued by the text on many levels from the central comparisons being made between love and rhetoric to its implication in other ancient and current texts. Plato's Phaedrus is a wise and thought-provoking text that I look forward to investigating further.
Possibility #2 - The Two Seemingly Discordant Halves of the Phaedrus Function Dramatically and Thus Emotionally. The dramatization of this tension involves the audience in a way that pure and logical reasoning alone could not.
I propose to investigate the schism in the text - the vast divide between the two halves of this beguiling dialogue. At the beginning, Phaedrus, the hapless young dialogist, promotes his friend Lysias's speech on behalf of the non-lover. Socrates, the character and Plato's mouthpiece, seems to be in concurrence. It is as if the two are arguing on behalf of a rational world for which love is entirely unnecessary. Socrates, however, never really believes in this controlled world at all. Love, divinely inspired, is a kind of madness that cannot and should not be dispensed with. In the second half of the dialogue, Socrates, then, puts forward a revision - an argument in favor of love that lifts the beloved to a higher level. Plato, through his character of Socrates, revises the concept of love from the quid pro quo of sex for education - to the higher plane of pure selflessness. Throughout this discussion of love, there is also another one going on, under the surface, regarding rhetoric and the proper use of the gifts we all have for persuasion. I would like to see how the two halves of the Phaedrus fit together, locate the point of tension, and reveal that it is, in fact, a dramatization made to involve and persuade its audience. By having two halves that appear not to fit, Plato makes his points dramatically, knowing fully well how drama demands an emotional involvement that a pure dialogue cannot.
Possibility #1- Antigone argues, as does Socrates, for a spiritual understanding to love. She knows, as Plato and his character Socrates knows, that it is folly to believe the rational, manmade laws and agreements of society can or should take precedence over those of the spiritual world.
I would like to reread Sophocles' Antigone and consider the rhetoric of her valiant and poignant pleas to Creon to bury her brother. I would like to read this beautiful and tragic play alongside the Phaedrus. I feel confident that, in Antigone's words and actions, I will see fascinating glimpses of logos, ethos, pathos, and, in the case of a body in need of burial, kairos. The Greek tragedians knew quite well how poetic drama enlists the emotions, yet still has the power to argue on behalf of various points of personal responsibility in a public forum. In reading Antigone through the lens of the Pbaedrus, I feel confident that I will see many areas of correspondence. For example, had Antigone remained reasonable and controlled, she would have realized that burying her brother was impossible and that her relentless insistence on this burial would lead to her ultimate death. The reasonable thing for Antigone to do is to admit her powerlessness in this situation, get married, and move on. This correlates nicely with Socrates's notion that love may be a form of madness, but we are in no position to say no to divine madness. Thus, the first half of the Phaedrus corresponds nicely to Antigone's reasonable, rational, practical choice. Antigone's decision to die trying to bury her beloved brother neatly parallels the second half of the Pbaedrus and Socrates's espousal of a godly path. Antigone answers to a higher calling just as Socrates' knows that we cannot resist the divine aspects of love. Love for a brother and erotic love of another, call upon the godly, divine aspects of our psyche. In both texts, these instincts come from a higher place and signal a spiritual turn to love that is transformative and morally educational.
I want to focus on the use of paradox in Phaedrus and/or Socrates’ use of sarcasm. He does this deliberately. One example is when he argues that eros, which exemplifies physical love, is actually better without sex; Love should be platonic. He also uses paradox when he speaks of eros and its connection to madness. He also equates the climactic peak of a man’s sexual experience to that of reaching “climax” not through sex, but through obtaining knowledge. He also states (6), “If I disbelieved it, as wise people do,” inferring that he is somehow less than wise.
“Gorgias” – from the standpoint of composition as a discipline (see Winterowd)
“Encomium to Helen” – how language is an erotic force
In chapter three of the Herrick book, there is a discussion question that I think would
make for an interesting paper topic. It asks, "Does Plato make a convincing case in Phaedrus that there may be a true and just art of rhetoric? When he calls it art, or techne, of 'leading the soul' through words, is he suggesting a role for rhetoric that cannot be defended as ethical? That is, is rhetoric any different from that of the Sophists"? This may need some fme tuning to narrow down the theme, but would I be on the right track in doing so? If so, do you have any suggestions?
I am interested in examining the relationship between logos (logic) and eros (love) within the text of Encomium to Helen. Gorgias' use of the antithesis could be a way to examine this type of relationship and to find a truth within the clash of the two ideas. Normally people use the phrase, "think with your heart or think with your head", as if the two oppose one another no matter what. I think this would be interesting to examine within Gorgias' text. Is this reaching too far outside of the realm of possibility or does it have potential?