Catherine Zuckert In the Platonic dialogues Socrates is shown talking to two, and only two, famous teachers of rhetoric, Thrasymachus of Chalcedon and Gorgias of Leontini.1 At first glance relations between Socrates and Gorgias appear to be much more courteous--they might even be described as cordial-- than relations between Socrates and Thrasymachus. In the Gorgias Socrates explicitly and intentionally seeks an opportunity to talk to Gorgias and treats him with great respect. Socrates shows that Gorgias's claims concerning the power of his art are contradictory, but the philosopher does not press his advantage or embarrass the rhetorician (Stauffer 2006, 34). Although Gorgias indicates his interest in hearing what Socrates has to say by urging his young friends Polus and Callicles to continue the conversation, Gorgias never says that he is convinced by Socrates. And Socrates never announces that Gorgias has become his friend.2 In the Republic Socrates reports that Thrasymachus burst into the conversation like a lion. Socrates even claims that he and his interlocutor (Polemarchus) were frightened. The initial exchange between Socrates and Thrasymachus thus appears to be hostile. In the argument that follows, Socrates embarrasses Thrasymachus; the famous teacher of rhetoric blushes. Nevertheless, Socrates declares later
Philosophy and Rhetoric – Penn State University Press
Published: May 27, 2010
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