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Rhetorical Theory: Sophistic Rhetoric vs Platonic Rhetoric - Essay Example

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(Merriam-Webster 1997) Philosophers, on the other hand, present a more sophisticated definition to this term. Aristotle defines rhetoric as the art of discovering all the available…
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Download file to see previous pages y on September 14, 2006 to the United Nations Security Council on its views specifically distinguishing it as Sophistic or Platonic in its rhetoric nature.
Sophists appeal only to what seems likely or probable, rather than to what is true, they are not at all making their students and audiences "better," but simply flattering them with what they want to hear. (Heenan 2007) In addition, in Plato’s discourses, he views Sophistic rhetoricas follows:”Sophist do not believe that humans can obtain absolute truth/knowledge and so concern themselves with probabilities—which Plato believes are mere appearances of truth. He believes Sophistic discourse seeks to induce belief without regard for whether or not that belief is transcendentally true—hence it is rhetorical in the pejorative sense. Plato also sees Sophists as relativists—manipulative and deceitful.”
On the other hand, Plato “believes transcendent truth exists and is accessible to all humans and that we can recognize it because we somehow "know" it before our birth. Rhetoric ought to be analytic, objective, and dialectical. He sees himself as didactic--using discourse to shape his audience for its own good. Knowledge of the truth constituted, for Plato, the Greek ideal (arete). [for others, "arete" was constituted by other alpha values—e.g., citizenship, love, honor, etc.) For Plato: when knowledge of the true standard guides us, every virtue then becomes a form of that true knowledge. In nature, all virtues are the same—they are the image of the good. (Heenan 2007)
A close evaluation of the distinguishing characteristics between Sophistic and Platonic rhetoric, it can be deduced that the speech delivered by George Clooney is categorized as a platonic rhetoric. First and foremost, the purpose of delivering the speech was straightforwardly stated as: “to represent the voices of the people (from Darfur) who cannot speak for themselves” and “for the United Nations to take real and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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