Lecture 5

Feb 26

News vs. Opinion

I promised on Tuesday to create a Google Form clear up the difference between news and opinion sources. The finished form has 11 examples; don’t get too bogged down in reading these. Read the headline and skim the article to figure out whether you’re looking at an opinion piece or a news analysis piece.

Socrates vs. Gorgias: Grudgematch

Read Gorgias, the philosophical dialogue where Plato puts his mentor Socrates in conversation with the famous sophist and rhetorician Gorgias. Look for this file among the readings posted on the Lecture class’s Blackboard site.

As you read, take note of how Socrates uses questions to challenge his interlocutor Gorgias. Does Socrates’ method fit the pattern described by Abram? (In preparation for this assignment, you may want to review David Abram’s account of the Socratic method, pp 109-113 in the file posted on the course’s Blackboard site.) Depending on your answer, do one of the following:

  • If “Yes,” write a 2¶ sequence where the first ¶ presents a passage from Plato and the second ¶ dramatically introduces Abram to deepen our understanding of the Socratic method.
  • If “No,” write a 2¶ sequence where the first ¶ presents Abram’s claim about the Socratic method and the second ¶ introduces an example from Plato’s Gorgias to challenge, refute or complicate our understanding of how Plato employs the Socratic method.

Paste your HW as a response under the appropriate header, below.

47 responses to “Lecture 5

    • SOCRATES. Then answer, Gorgias, since you share my opinion.
      GORGIAS. The kind of persuasion employed in the law courts and other gatherings, Socrates, as I said just now, and concerned with right and wrong.
      SOCRATES. I suspected ‘too, Gorgias, that you meant this kind of persuasion, with such a province: it is merely that you may not be surprised if a little later I ask you the same kind of question, though the answer seems clear to me: yet I may repeat it-for, as I said, I am questioning you, not for your own sake, but in order that the argument may be carried forward· consecutively, and that we may not form the habit of suspecting and anticipating each other’s views, but that you may complete your own statements as you please, in accordance with your initial plan.
      GORGIAS. I think your method is right, Socrates.
      SOCRATES. Then let us consider the next point. Is there a state which you call ‘having learned’? GORGIAS. There is.
      SOCRATES. And such a thing as ‘having believed’? GORGIAS. There is.
      SOCRATES. Now do you think that to have learned and to have believed, or knowledge and belief, are one and the same or different?
      GORGIAS. I consider them different, Socrates.
      SOCRATES. You are right; and you can prove it thus: if anybody were to say to you, ‘Can there be both a false belief and a true, Gorgias?’ you would, I think, say that there is.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. But can there be both a false and a true knowledge?
      GORGIAS. By no means.
      SOCRATES. Then it is obvious that knowledge and belief are not the same.

      Socrates continued to ask Gorgias to clarify himself and answer questions. By letting Gorgias speak, Socrates tried to help Gorgias to discover what Socrates thought was true. Socrates tried hard to navigate his interlocutor to reach the conclusion by himself, rather than being told. As Abram said, “By asking the speaker to explain himself or to repeat his statement in different terms, Socrates forced his interlocutors to separate themselves, for the first time, from their own words-to separate themselves, that is, from the phrases and formulas that had become habitual through the constant repetition of traditional teaching stories.” In this passage, Socrates keeps asking questions to let Gorgias finally identify the essential difference between knowledge and belief, thus letting Gorgias to admit that knowledge and belief is not the same. This method is highly persuasive and eloquent because the opposite man reached the conclusion by himself.

    • Socrates: And now let us have your reply, Gorgias. Rhetoric is one of the arts that achieve and fulfill their function entirely through words, is it not?
      Gorgias: That is so.
      Socrates: Tell me then in what field. What is the subject matter of the words employed by rhetoric?
      Gorgias: The greatest and noblest of human affairs.
      Socrates: But, Gorgias, what you are now saying is disputable and not yet clear. I think you must have heard men singing at drinking parties the familiar song in which they enumerate our blessings, health being the first, beauty the second, and third, as the composer of the song claims, wealth obtained without dishonesty.
      Gorgias: I have heard it. But what is the point of your remark?

      Throughout the exchange, Socrates continues to dig at Gorgias by asking him question after question after question about what Gorgias believed what the nature of rhetoric was. By asking questions to clarify what Gorgias truly believes and Gorgias continuing to explain his stance, Socrates was able to force Gorgias to separate himself from what he was saying. Socrates was continuously challenging Gorgias by asking him all these different questions regarding what Gorgias truly believed. When asked so many questions and having to explain himself over and over, Gorgias was separated from his argument and forced to come out with his explanations..

    • Socrates: Good: and now answer in the same way about rhetoric: what is the field of this science?
      Gorgias: Words.
      Socrates: Of what kind, Gorgias? Those that reveal to the sick what E treatment will restore their health?
      Gorgias: No.
      Socrates: Then rhetoric is not concerned with every kind of words.
      Gorgias: Certainly not.
      Socrates: Yet it makes men able to speak.
      Gorgias: Yes.
      Socrates: And able to think also about the matter of their discourse?
      Gorgias: Of course.
      Socrates: Now does not the science of medicine, which we have just 450A mentioned, make men able to think and to speak about their patients?
      Gorgias: Assuredly.
      Socrates: Then medicine also, it seems, is concerned with words.
      Gorgias: Yes.
      Socrates: Words about diseases?
      Gorgias: Certainly.
      Socrates: And is not gymnastic concerned with words that relate to good or bad bodily condition?

      Throughout the dialogue Gorgias, Socrates poses a large number of questions for Gorgias to respond to, proving his usage of the Socratic dialect. The Socratic dialect, which David Abram writes about in his book The Spell of the Sensuous, is a method of asking a speaker to develop on his/her thoughts, which can be done through a series of questions. As seen above, Socrates repeatedly asks Gorgias to expand on his concise answers, prompting him to think about his ideas from different perspectives. Socrates’ usage of the Socratic dialect is clear to readers, supporting Abram’s claim that the Socratic dialect forces speakers to separate themselves from their original, habitual thoughts.

    • SOCRATES. Good: and now answer in the same way about rhetoric: what is the field of this science?
      GORGIAS. Words.
      SOCRATES. Of what kind, Gorgias? Those that reveal to the sick what treatment will restore their health?
      GORGIAS. No.
      SOCRATES. Then rhetoric is not concerned with every kind of words.
      GORGIAS. Certainly not.
      SOCRATES. Yet it makes men able to speak.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. And able to think also about the matter of their discourse?
      GORGIAS. Of course.
      SOCRATES. Now does not the science of medicine, which we have just 450
      mentioned, make men able to think and to speak about their patients?
      GORGIAS. Assuredly.
      SOCRATES. Then medicine also, it seems, is concerned with words.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. Words about diseases?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.
      SOCRATES. And is not gymnastic concerned with words that relate to good or bad bodily condition?
      GORGIAS. Undoubtedly.
      SOCRATES. And so it is with the other arts also, Gorgias: each of them is concerned with words that have to do with its own subject-matter.
      GORGIAS. Evidently.
      SOCRATES. Then, as the other arts have to do with words, why do you not call them by the name of ‘rhetoric’, since you call rhetoric any art that is
      concerned with words?
      GORGIAS. Because all the knowledge of the other arts is in general, Socrates,
      concerned with manual crafts and similar activities, whereas rhetoric deals with no such manual product but all its activity and all that it accomplishes
      is through the medium of words. Therefore I claim that the art of rhetoric has to do with words, and maintain that my claim is correct.

      Abram’s interpretation of Socrates’s Socratic Method directly supports this interaction between Socrates and Gorgias about the true nature of the term “rhetoric.” Socrates proceeds to question him to clarify exactly Gorgias’s genuine belief in the term. With specific question after question, Socrates continuously rooted out weaknesses in Gorgias’s argument. This was his way of guiding them to form their own solid opinion on facts rather than allowing him to answer with established opinions.

    • SOCRATES. I will tell you. Just what that persuasion is which you claim is
      produced by rhetoric, and with what subjects it deals,1 assure you, I do not but I have a suspicion as to what you mean, and its field. Yet I shall ask you none the less what you mean by the conviction produced
      by rhetoric and what is its province. And why shall I ask you instead of speak’iilg myself, when I have this suspicion? Not for your sake, but because I am anxious that the argument should so proceed as to clarify to the utmost the matter under discussion. Consider whether I am right in asking you that further question: ifI had asked you what kind ofpainter Zeuxis was and you had answered, a painter of living creatures, might I not with justice ask you, what kind of living creatures, and where they may be found?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.
      SOCRA TES. And the reason is that there are other painters with many other
      living subjects? GORGIAS. Yes.
      . SOCJ!.A TES. Whereas, if Zeuxis had been the only painter, yours would have been a good answer?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.
      SOCRATES. Then come, tell me about rhetoric. Do you think that rhetoric
      alone produces persuasion or do other arts as well? What I mean is this:
      when a man teaches a subject, does he persuade where he teaches, or not? GORGIAS. One cannot deny that, Socrates: certainly he persuades.

      David Abram, the author of “Animism and the Alphabet” clearly perceives that Socrates’ oral style first “consisted in asking a speaker to explain what he has said”. He then notes how the purpose of this, indeed the driving force behind Socrates’ discussions, was to force his “interlocutors to separate themselves, for the first time, from their own word”. Overall, Socrates aimed to form a wedge between his fellow conversationalists and the repetitive, mnemonic oral style that was so popular before writing. He asks them questions with the intention of making them delve deeper into why they believed what they preached, and not just parrot repetitive phrases. This pattern is well represented in the excerpt above, in which Socrates prodes at Gorgias’ credences with multiple questions, generally asking him to explain himself and his purpose. It seems, however, that Socrates may have met his match of sorts in Gorgias, who (at least in the exchange above) remains succinct and unshakable in his answers.

    • SOCRATES. Then listen, Gorgias, to what surprises me in your statement: for perhaps you were right and I misunderstood you. You claim you can make a rhetorician of any man who wishes to learn from you?
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. With the result that he would be convincing about any subject
      before a crowd, not through instruction but by persuasion?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.
      SOCRATES. Well, you said just now that a rhetorician will be more persuasive than a doctor regarding health.
      GORGIAS. Yes, I said so, before a crowd.
      The term “Socratic dialectic”, as described by Eric Havelock and presented in Abram’ s “The Spell of the Sensuous”, is directly observed in Plato’ s Gorgias. Socrates, in his dialogue with Gorgias, is asking him questions in a deepening sequence, in order to reach a point where rhetoric could be actually defined, and not merely explained. As unfolded in the passage above, throughout the interaction, Socrates does continuously ask his interlocutor “to explain himself or to repeat his statement”, as Abram suggests he does. His methods and his tendency to bombard Gorgias, but also Polus for that matter, with questions, show how much he values them as the means which lead to true knowledge and greater understanding. As Abram correctly advocates, most terms including “justice” were only seen as events, and people’s opinions on them were fixed. Socrates accomplished in this dialogue to communicate how the characteristics of one profession (rhetoric) could be applied to many other occupations as well (like medicine), and are not rooted in specific ideas, which are prone to change.

    • GORGIAS. Something, Socrates, that is in very truth the greatest boon: for it brings freedom to mankind in general and to each man dominion over others in his own country.

      SOCRATES. And what exactly do you mean by that?
      
GORGIAS. I mean the power to convince by your words the judges in court, the senators in council, the people in the assembly or in any other gathering of a citizen body. And yet possessed of such power you will make the doctor, you will make the trainer your slave: and your business man will prove to be making money, not for himself, but for another, for you who can speak and persuade multitudes.

      SOCRATES. Now at last, Gorgias, you have revealed most precisely, it seems to me, what art you consider rhetoric to be: and ifI understand you aright, you assert that rhetoric is a creator of persuasion, and that all its activity is concerned with this, and this is its sum and substance. Can you state any wider scope for rhetoric than to produce persuasion in the soul of the hearer?

      In his philosophical dialogue between Socrates and Gorgias, the philosopher Plato to uncover the true essence of rhetoric and what it means to be a rhetorician at this moment in Ancient Greece. The democracy credited as the basis for all modern democracies, Athens relied on the vote of the people and the power of the individual to persuade to make decisions, forge laws, and fight wars. Gorgias traveled from city to city teaching the art of rhetoric, which some viewed as dangerous work to the democracy since rhetoric over reason could sway a council’s vote. In this dialogue, Socrates implores Gorgias to understand the true virtue, power, and importance of rhetoric.The reason Socrates was able to make Gorgias extract a detailed, specific, and applied explanation of a common concept is through the art of the socratic method, as explained by David Abram in his article “Animism and the Alphabet”. The socratic method asks the individual not to give a textbook definition of a concept, but apply it to their own lives, their own time in history, their own set of beliefs and laws, and make a fabricated concept become an applicable part of daily life. The key to this power lies in Socrates seemingly vague question in the form of one word – ‘you’. He is asking not to recite what Gorgias already knows, he is imploring him to genuinely process the question in terms of his own self, profession, and importance in society. This is exactly how Socrates made his peers and students think deeper and in a more complex fashion, it is thinking beyond what you should know by combing the concepts with what is already in front of you.

    • Socrates: Well, you said just now that a rhetorician will be more persuasive than a doctor regarding health.

      Gorgias: Yes, I said so, before a crowd.

      Socrates: And before a crowd means among the ignorant: for surely, among those who know, he will not be more convincing than the doctor.

      Gorgias: That is quite true.

      Socrates: Then if he is more persuasive than the doctor, he is more persuasive than the man who knows?

      Gorgias: Certainly.

      Socrates: Though not himself a doctor.

      Gorgias: Yes.

      Socrates: And he who is not a doctor is surely ignorant of what a doctor knows.

      Gorgias: Obviously.

      Socrates: Therefore when the rhetorician is more convincing than the doctor, the ignorant is more convincing among the ignorant than the expert. Is that our conclusion, or is something else?

      Gorgias: That is the conclusion, in this instance.

      Abram’s remark on the Socratic method is displayed throughout Plato’s dialogue in which “Socrates forced his interlocutors to separate themselves, for the first time, from their own words.” The purpose, is to help the conversationalist realize the difference between speaking with meaning and reciting information that has become a routine. In asking Gorgias a multitude of questions on a familiar topic and then rephrasing his answers, Socrates makes Gorgias ponder the meaning of his own words. Exemplified in the passage above, Socrates is asking the questions and in the beginning, Gorgias answers them with confidence. However, as the questions continue, it is evident that Gorgias himself is inconsistent in his answers which proves the purpose of the Socratic method.

    • GORGIAS. I think your method is right, Socrates.
      SOCRATES. Then let us consider the next point. Is there a state which you call ‘having learned’?
      GORGIAS. There is.
      SOCRATES. And such a thing as ‘having believed’?
      GORGIAS. There is.
      SOCRATES .. Now do you think that to have learned and to have believed, or D knowledge and belief, are one and the same or different?
      GORGIAS. I consider them different, Socrates.
      SOCRATES. You are right; and you can prove it thus: if anybody were to say to you, ‘Can there be both a false belief and a true, Gorgias?’ you would, I think, say that there is.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. But can there be both a false and a true knowledge?
      GORGIAS. By no means.
      SOCRATES. Then it is obvious that knowledge and belief are not the same.
      GORGIAS. You are right.
      SOCRATES. But both those who have learned and those who believe have been persuaded. GORGIAS. That is so.
      SOCRATES. Shall we lay it down then that there are two forms of persuasion, the one producing belief without knowledge, the other knowledge?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.
      SOCRATES. Now which kind of conviction about right and wrong is produced in the lawcourts and other gatherings by rhetoric? That which issues in belief without knowledge, or that which issues in knowledge?
      GORGIAS. Evidently, Socrates, that which issues in belief.

      It is evident in the aforementioned lines that Socrates’s method of language and communication. Through the questions posed, it is clear that Socrates wanted to almost walk Gorgias through his conceptual take on the ideas of belief and persuasion. Through his actions, Socrates essentially is able to develop thoughts in the mind of whom he is questioning: Socratic Dialect. Abram expresses exactly this in his book The Spell of the Sensuous. He argues that this concept is “is none other than the literate intellect, that part of the self that is born and strengthened in relation to the written letters.” This is proven through the discussion as drawn out above.

    • SOCRATES. Then let us consider the next point. Is there a state which you call
      ‘having learned’?
      GORGIAS. There is.
      SOCRATES. And such a thing as ‘having believed’?
      GORGIAS. There is.
      SOCRATES .. Now do you think that to have learned and to have believed, or D
      knowledge and belief, are one and the same or different?
      GORGIAS. I consider them different, Socrates.
      SOCRATES. You are right; and you can prove it thus: if anybody were to say to
      you, ‘Can there be both a false belief and a true, Gorgias?’ you would, I
      think, say that there is.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. But can there be both a false and a true knowledge?
      GORGIAS. By no means.

      Socrates does indeed use the socratic method outlined by Abram. “By asking the speaker to explain himself or to repeat his statement in different terms, Socrates forced his interlocutors to separate themselves, for the first time, from their own words.” Almost in a method similar to persistence, Socrates bombards the subject with questions–just like a modern day therapist does. These questions, as Abram outlines, cause the subject to become detached from their argument and begin to question what they are saying. This is a highly effective method, however, it does take time and carefully worded questions. However, if you can get to the root of the opponents’ argument, their entire viewpoint can be shifted.

    • SOCRATES. Good:andnowanswerinthesamewayaboutrhetoric:whatisthe
      field of this science?
      GORGIAS. Words.
      SOCRATES. Of what kind, Gorgias? Those that reveal to the sick what E
      treatment will restore their health?
      GORGJAS. No.
      SOCRA TES. Then rhetoric is not concerned with every kind of words.
      GORGIAS. Certainly not.
      SOCRATES. Yet it makes men able to speak.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRA TES. And able to think also about the matter of their discourse?
      GORGIAS. Ofcourse.
      SOCRATES. Now does not the science of medicine, which we have just 450A
      mentioned, make men able to think and to speak about their patients? GORGIAS. Assuredly.
      SOCRATES. Then medicine also, it seems, is concerned with words. GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. Wordsaboutdiseases?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.
      SOCRATES. And is not gymnastic concerned with words that relate to good or
      bad bodily condition?
      GORGIAS. Undoubtedly.
      SOCRATES. And so it is with the other arts also, Gorgias: each of them is concerned with words that have to do with its own subject-matter.

      Abram’s book The Spell of Sensuous affirms Socrates and Gorgias’s contemplation about what rhetoric is in its truest form by explaining the ways of Socratic dialect. In this passage, Socrates continues to question Gorgias with each question getting exceedingly specific, until he has sort of gotten rid of the downfalls of his belief. This in itself shows Socrates teaching with his method. Instead of just giving him the answer straight away, he continues to ask questions until Gorgias gets to the answer himself.

    • SOCRATES. Well, you said just now that a rhetorician will be more persuasive
      than a doctor regarding health.
      GORGIAS. Yes, I said so, before a crowd.
      SOCRATES. And before a crowd means among the ignorant: for surely, among
      those who know, he will not be more convincing than the doctor.
      GORGIAS. That is quite true.
      SOCRATES. ·Then if he is more persuasive than the· doctor, he is more
      persuasive than the man who knows?
      Certainly.
      SOCRATES. Though not himself a doctor. B
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. And he who is not a doctor is surely ignorant of what a doctor
      knows.
      GORGIAS. Obviously.
      SOCRATES. Therefore when the rhetorician is more convincing than the
      doctor, the ignorant is more convincing among the ignorant than the
      . expert. Is that our coriclusion, or is something else?
      GORGIAS. That is the conclusion, in this instance.
      SOCRATES, Is not the position of the rhetorician and of rhetoric the same with
      respect to other arts also? It has no need to know the truth about things but c
      merely to discover a technique of persuasion, so as to appear among the
      ignorant to have more knowledge than the expert?
      GORGIAS. But is not this a great comfort, Socrates, to be able without learning
      any other arts but this one, to prove in no way inferior to the specialists?
      Socrates’ method fits the pattern described by Abram exactly. He repeatedly asks Gorgias questions about his profession of being “The art of Rhetoric”, which Abram describes in his book ‘The Spell of Sensuous’ as “to separate themselves, that is, from the phrases and formulas that had become habitual”. This is evident as the dialogue between Gorgias and Socrates develops and Socrates uses the infamous ‘Socratic method’ to continuously question Gorgias and his so-called ‘profession’ of being a rhetorician. As in fact, this ‘profession’ is not as impressive as we may think and due to the persistence of Socrates, we find out that the art of being a rhetorician is actually being “more convincing among the ignorant than the expert”. Thanks to the Socratic method, we can dig deeper into what we initially are told to fold out the deeper meaning and truth.

    • SOCRATES. But now it is clear that this same rhetorician would never do wrong, is it not?
      GORGIAS. It is clear.
      SOCRATES. And in our earlier discussion, Gorgias, it was stated that rhetoric is concerned with words that deal, not with the odd and even, but with right and wrong. Is that so?
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. Now at the time when stated this, I considered that rhetoric could never be a thing of evil, since its discourse is always concerned with justice: but when a little later you said that the rhetorician might actually make an evil use of rhetoric, I was surprised, and considering that what was said was inconsistent

      As understood from David Abram’s writing about Socrates, Socrates uses questions to his advantage by challenging everything Gorgias has said. Abram claims Socrates is primarily using “a method for disrupting the mimetic thought patterns of oral culture,” therefore allowing Socrates to create a stronger argument with the information he has accumulated. Throughout Gorgias, Socrates consistently questions everything that Gorgias says. One of the main instances where this occurs is when Gorgias states that rhetoric is used for justice and cannot be used for injustice. Through further investigation by Socrates, however, Gorgias also states that he believes anyone who uses rhetoric for evil should be banished or even put to death. As a result of Socrates’ interrogation, Socrates can catch where Gorgias contradicts himself and use the information to create a stronger claim against Gorgias.

    • SOCRATES. Now do you remember saying a short while ago that we should not
      blame our trainers or expel them from our cities, ifa boxer practises his art in a wrongful manner and does injury, and so too if a rhetorician makes wrongful use ofhis rhetoric, we should not censure or banish his instructor but rather the guilty man who wrongly employs rhetoric? Was this said or not?
      GORGIAS. It was said.
      SOCRATES. But now it is clear that this same rhetorician would never do
      wrong, is it not?
      GORGIAS. It is clear.
      SOCRATES. And in our earlier discussion, Gorgias, it was stated that rhetoric is
      concerned with words that deal, not with the odd and even, but with right
      and wrong. Is that so?
      GoRGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. Now at the time when stated this, I considered that rhetoric
      could never be a thing of evil, since its discourse is always concerned with justice: but when a little later you said that the rhetorician might actually make an evil use ofrhetoric, I was surprised, and considering that what was said was inconsistent, I spoke as I did, saying that if, like myself, you thought it of to be refuted, it was worth while pursuing the conversa- tion: but if not, we should let it drop. And as a result of our subsequent review you can see for yourself it is admitted that the rhetorician is incapable of making a wrong use of rhetoric and unwilling to do wron·g. Now, by the dog, Gorgias, it will need no short discussion to settle satisfactorily where the truth lies.

      Socratic dialectic is defined as the action of asking a speaker to explain what he has said. This is meant to challenge his mimetic thought oral patterns and it was a method introduced by Socrates, a greek philosopher who seeked for the truth. In his essay “Animisn and the Alphabet” by David Abrams, he discusses how the socratic method gets speakers to listen to and ponder their own speaking by continually asking his interlocutors to repeat and explain what they had said in other words. Proof that this method is effective and was often used by Socrates himself is the excerpt above from Gorgias, a dialogue between Socrates and Georgias written by Plato, Socrates’s student. In the excerpt one can see how Socrates while conversating with Gorgias asks him a set of questions ultimately set him up to contradict himself, and it proves a very effective way of dismatelling other people’s ideas.

    • SOCRATES. And is not gymnastic concerned with words that relate to good or bad bodily condition?
      GORGIAS. Undoubtedly.
      SOCRATES. And so it is with the other arts also, Gorgias: each of them is concerned with words that have to do with its own subject-matter.
      GORGIAS. Evidently.
      SOCRATES. Then, as the other arts have to do with words, why do you not call them by the name of ‘rhetoric’, since you call rhetoric any art that is concerned with words?
      GORGIAS. Because all the knowledge of the other arts is in general, Socrates, concerned with manual crafts and similar activities, whereas rhetoric deals with no such manual product but all its activity and all that it accomplishes is through the medium of words. Therefore I claim that the art of rhetoric has to do with words, and maintain that my claim is correct

      David Abram’s account of “Socratic dialect” is clearly displayed throughout this passage. Over the course of this conversation, Gorgias’s main argument is continuously questioned by Socrates. At first, his responses to this are very concise, mainly one word. Therefore, he comes across as very direct and sure of himself. However, with each question, it became much easier to find flaws in Gorgias’s statements. Through this method, we eventually find that his argument was not as strong as it originally seemed.

    • SOCRATES: Well then: you claim that you are an expert in the art of rhetoric D and that you can make rhetoricians of others. Now just what is the scope of rhetoric? Weaving, for example, has to do with the making of garments: you agree?
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. And music with composing melodies?
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. By Hera, Gorgias, I marvel at your answers: they could not be
      briefer.
      GORGIAS. Yes, I think I succeed pretty well, Socrates.
      SOCRATES. Good: and now answer in the same way about rhetoric: what is the
      field of this science?
      GORGIAS. Words.
      SOCRATES. Of what kind, Gorgias? Those that reveal to the sick what E
      treatment will restore their health?
      GORGIAS. No.
      SOCRATES. Then rhetoric is not concerned with every kind of words.
      GORGIAS. Certainly not.
      SOCRATES. Yet it makes men able to speak.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. And able to think also about the matter of their discourse?
      GORGIAS. Ofcourse.
      SOCRATES. Now does not the science of medicine, which we have just mentioned, make men able to think and to speak about their patients?
      GORGIAS. Assuredly.

      Throughout the exchange between Gorgias and Socrates, Socrates questions Gorgias to find the meaning of rhetoric and what about it makes it an art. In addition to knowing what makes rhetoric an art, Socrates also questions Gorgias on what sets rhetoric apart from other well known art forms such as arithmetic and geometry. Through his use of Socratic Dialectic or “ asking a speaker to explain what he has said.” By asking Gorgias these seemingly simple questions, Socrates is able to piece together what makes rhetoric and art in Gorgias’ eyes. From his definition of rhetoric, Socrates then concludes that rhetoric is not an art and is more of a “cookery.”

    • SOCRATES. Let us take once more the same arts as we discussed just now. Arithmetic and the arithmetician teach us, do they not, the properties of a number?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.
      SOCRATES. And consequently persuade us?
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. Then arithmetic is also a creator of persuasion?
      GORGIAS. Evidently.
      SOCRATES. Now, ·if anyone should ask us what kind of persuasion and in what field, we shall answer him, I suppose, that which teaches about the odd and the even in all their quantities: and we shall be able to prove that all the other arts just mentioned are creators of persuasion and name the type and the field, shall we not?
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. Then rhetoric is not the only creator of persuasion.
      GORGIAS. That is true

      During their exchange, Socrates prods Gorgias with questions, asking him what he believes the nature of rhetoric to be. David Abram explains this in his book The Spell of the Sensuous, labeling it as the Socratic method. The Socratic method, as shown in this conversation between Socrates and Gorgias involves “asking a speaker to explain what he has said” (Abram) to keep the person off guard. By asking the speaker to explain themself, they had to rephrase what they were saying, which was effective because, in a primary oral culture, it was difficult for the speaker to maintain their point without mnemonic devices. By asking Gorgias so many questions, Socrates is able to get him further away from his point.

    • SOCRATES. It seems that he does not quite answer the question asked.
      GORGIAS. Weli, if you prefer it, you may ask him yourself.
      SOCRATES. No, not if you are ready to answer instead: I would much rather
      question you. For it is obvious from what Polus has said that he is much
      better versed in what is called rhetoric than in dialogue.
      POLUS. How is that, Socrates?
      SOCRATES. Why, Polus, because when Chaerepho asks in what art Gorgias is you praise his art as though someone were attacking it, but neglect to answer what it is.
      POLUS. Did I not answer that it was the noblest of arts?
      SOCRATES. Certainly. But no one is asking in what kind of art Gorgias is engaged but what it actually is and what we should call Gorgias. On the lines laid down before by Chaerepho, when you answered correctly and briefly, tell us now in similar manner what this art is and what name we must give to Gorgias. Or rather, Gorgias, tell us yourself in what art you are expert and what we should call you.
      GORGIAS. The art of Rhetoric, Socrates.
      SOCRATES. Then we must call you a rhetorician?
      GORGIAS. Yes, and a good one, Socrates, if you really want to call me what, in
      Homer’s expression, I boast myself to be.
      SOCRATES. That is what I want.
      GORGIAS. Then call me so.

      David Abram describes Socrates as a person who questions his interlocutor about “the real meaning of the qualitative terms they unthinkingly employ in their speaking, they confidently reply by recounting particular instances of the quality under consideration” (110). In the chosen extract above, Socrates also questioned what Gorgias had answered once, asking him to defend for himself again. An interruption brought up by Socrates helped him to, according to Abram, “stunned his listeners out of the mnemonic trance demand by orality , and hence out of the sensuous, storied realm to which they were accustomed” (110).

      • Such interruption could ruin Socrates’ opponents to a very large extent. Since they were living in a society with primary oral culture, people highly relied rhetoric method to memorize long piece written work.

    • SOCRATES. Then let us consider the next point. Is there a state which you call ‘having learned’?
      GORGIAS. There is.
      SOCRATES. And such a thing as ‘having believed’?
      GORGIAS. There is.
      SOCRATES .. Now do you think that to have learned and to have believed, or knowledge and belief, are one and the same or different?
      GORGIAS. I consider them different, Socrates.
      SOCRATES. You are right; and you can prove it thus: if anybody were to say toyou, ‘Can there be both a false belief and a true, Gorgias?’ you would, I think, say that there is.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. But can there be both a false and a true knowledge?
      GORGIAS. By no means.
      SOCRATES. Then it is obvious that knowledge and belief are not the same.
      GORGIAS. You are right.
      SOCRATES. But both those who have learned and those who believe have been persuaded.
      GORGIAS. That is so.
      SOCRATES. Shall we lay it down then that there are two forms of persuasion, the one producing belief without knowledge, the other knowledge?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.

      Abrams’ account of the Socratic method is based on the basic principle of letting the speaker explain what he said about something. The questions that are asked by Socrates are a part of this, helping the listeners to deepen their understanding. In the above passage, it is all a question and response over and over again. However, it can be seen that all these questions help towards a goal of deepening understanding of something. Sometimes, distinct questions are asked, later to be combined so that this understanding can be gained. Here, Socrates asks these questions about knowledge to Gorgias. The way Socrates phrases each question effortlessly leads to the next to continue his point, to help the listener understant.

    • SOCRATES. And what exactly do you mean by that?
      GORGIAS. I mean the power to convince by your words the judges in court, the
      senators in council, the people in the assembly or in any other gathering of a citizen body. And yet possessed of such power you will make the doctor, you will make the trainer your slave: and your business man will prove to be making money, not for himself, but for another, for you who can speak and persuade multi.tudes.
      SOCRA TES. Now at last, Gorgias, you have revealed most precisely, it seems to me, what art you consider rhetoric to be: and ifI understand you aright, you assert that rhetoric is a creator of persuasion, and that all its activity is concerned with this, and this is its sum and substance. Can you state any wider scope for rhetoric than to produce persuasion in the soul of the hearer?
      GORGIAS. lly no means, Socrates: I think you define it adequately: for that is its sum and substance.
      SOCRATES. Then listen, Gorgias. I am convinced, you may be sure, that if there is any man who in a discussion with another is anxious to know just what is the real subject under discussion, I am such a man: and I am confident that you are too.
      GORGIAS. What then, Socrates?

      Abrams effectively describes the Socratic method with a longwinded yet clear depiction of his ideas and how they would be implemented. Providing the background along with various examples clear space for the best understanding of how Socrates worked. Socrates used a variety of deep questions to try and force his companions to further their thoughts and develop a deeper understanding of something that he may not even be familiar with. With Gorgias, Socrates is asking question after question forcing Gorgias to expand on the many ideas that he makes so a fuller conclusion can be made. These conclusions have been made by both Socrates and Gorgias.

    • SOCRATES. And now let us have your reply, Corgias. Rhetoric is one ofthe arts o
      that achieve and fulfill their function entirely through words, is it not?
      GORGIAS. That is so.
      SOCRATES. Tell me then in what field. What is the subject matter ofthe words
      employed by rhetoric?
      GORGIAS. The greatest and noblest of human affairs, Socrates.
      SOCRATES. But, Gorgias, what you are now saying is disputable and not yet E
      clear. I think you must have heard men singing at drinking parties the familiar song in which they enumerate our blessings, health being the first, beautjr the second, and third, as the composer of the song claims, wealth obtained without dishonesty.

      I believe that this is a very good example of the use of socratic method. Socrates and Gorgias have different points yet they respond to each other in very calm and pointed manners which is not only part of the definition but what I believe we all strive to accomplish during discussions. A quote later on in 453B is also a great example of both Socrates and Gorgias both listening and arguing to deepen both of their understandings in the matter. It is one thing to hear what someone has to say but when you listen to it and respond, a whole new understanding it made.

    • SOCRATES. Then let us consider the next point. Is there a state which you call
      ‘having learned’?
      GORGIAS. There is.
      SOCRATES. And such a thing as ‘having believed’?
      GORGIAS. There is.
      SOCRATES .. Now do you think that to have learned and to have believed, or
      knowledge and belief, are one and the same or different?
      GORGIAS. I consider them different, Socrates.
      SOCRATES. You are right; and you can prove it thus: if anybody were to say to
      you, ‘Can there be both a false belief and a true, Gorgias?’ you would, I
      think, say that there is.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. But can there be both a false and a true knowledge?
      GORGIAS. By no means.
      SOCRATES. Then it is obvious that knowledge and belief are not the same.
      GORGIAS. You are right.
      SOCRATES. But both those who have learned and those who believe have been
      persuaded.
      GORGIAS. That is so.
      SOCRATES. Shall we lay it down then that there are two forms of persuasion,
      the one producing belief without knowledge, the other knowledge?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.
      SOCRATES. Now which kind of conviction about right and wrong is produced
      in the lawcourts and other gatherings by rhetoric? That which issues in
      belief without knowledge, or that which issues in knowledge?
      GORGIAS. Evidently, Socrates, that which issues in belief.
      SOCRATES. Then rhetoric apparently is a creator of a conviction that is
      persuasive but not instructive about right and wrong.

      The above excerpt from Plato’s Gorgias demonstrates David Abram’s perspective on the Socratic method. Abram asserts that before Socrates, rhetoricians’ technique was steeped in the ways of the world and referenced a culture’s fundamental stories. However, Socrates aimed to question the “habitual” words of rhetoricians, causing them to snap out of the “mimetic thought patterns” of Greek oral culture. In this instance, Socrates forces Gorgias to reevaluate his thoughts on the difference between knowledge and belief and its relation to persuasion through intense interrogation, or as Abram puts it, “questioning them regarding the real meaning
      of the qualitative terms they unthinkingly employ in their speaking.” Through mode of dialectic, Socrates compels Gorgias to thoroughly ponder not only the qualities of rhetoric, but his ideas on the fundamental definitions of knowledge and belief.

    • “GORGIAS. Something, Socrates, that is in very truth the greatest boon: for it brings freedom to mankind in general and to each man dominion over others in his own country.
      SOCRATES. And what exactly do you mean by that?
      GORGIAS. I mean the power to convince by your words the judges in court, the senators in council, the people in the assembly or in any other gathering of a citizen body. And yet possessed of such power you will make the doctor, you will make the trainer your slave: and your business man will prove to be making money, not for himself, but for another, for you who can speak and persuade multi.tudes.
      SOCRATES. Now at last, Gorgias, you have revealed most precisely, it seems to me, what art you consider rhetoric to be: and ifI understand you aright, you assert that rhetoric is a creator of persuasion, and that all its activity is concerned with this, and this is its sum and substance. Can you state any wider scope for rhetoric than to produce persuasion in the soul of the hearer?
      GORGIAS. lly no means, Socrates: I think you define it adequately: for that is its sum and substance.
      SOCRATES. Then listen, Gorgias. I am convinced, you may be sure, that if there is any man who in a discussion with another is anxious to know just what is the real subject under discussion, I am such a man: and I am confident that you are too.”

      The above is an example of disrupting thought, as discussed by David Abram in “The Spell of the Sensuous.” Abram discusses a common method, known as the “Socratic dialect” which is when one person asks the speaker to clarify what they said, breaking up the speakers train of thought and forcing them to think deeper into the meaning behind their words and not simply following the rhythmic tune of their own voice. This method forces the speaker to also separate themselves from their words by having to rephrase and change them according to the audience, instead of the subconscious association with the speaker to their words- which are two very different things.

    • SOCRATES. Good: and now answer in the same way about rhetoric: what is the
      field of this science?
      GORGIAS. Words.
      SOCRATES. Of what kind, Gorgias? Those that reveal to the sick what E
      treatment will restore their health?
      GORGIAS. No.
      SOCRATES. Then rhetoric is not concerned with every kind of word.
      GORGIAS. Certainly not.
      SOCRATES. Yet it makes men able to speak.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. And able to think also about the matter of their discourse?
      GORGIAS. Ofcourse.
      SOCRATES. Now does not the science of medicine, which we have just 450A
      mentioned, make men able to think and to speak about their patients? GORGIAS. Assuredly.
      SOCRATES. Then medicine also, it seems, is concerned with words. GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. Words About Diseases?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.
      SOCRATES. And is not gymnastic concerned with words that relate to good or
      bad bodily condition?
      GORGIAS. Undoubtedly.
      SOCRATES. And so it is with the other arts also, Gorgias: each of them is B
      concerned with words that have to do with its own subject-matter. GORGIAS. Evidently.

      Abram’s point of view on Socrates’ way of arguing relates to this conversation Socrates and Georgias had. In this conversation between Socrates and Georgias, Socrates sort of rips Georgias’ argument apart. Before Arguing against Socrates, Georgia had his own distinctive opinion and his point of view. However, after having conversations with Socrates, Georgias slowly but surely loses his starting point and falls into Socrates’ side. Just like how Abram states that Socrates starts by asking the person to explain what he or she has said, Socrates repeats asking many questions to Georgias, which eventually led him to discover the truth by himself. This is interesting, because Socrates does not tell him the answer, but he makes Georgias find the answer on his own. Socrates is just there kind of guiding him to discover the truth by asking questions.

    • SOCRATES. Then let us consider the next point. Is there a state which you call ‘having learned’?
      GORGIAS. There is.
      SOCRATES. And such a thing as ‘having believed’?
      GORGIAS. There is.
      SOCRATES .. Now do you think that to have learned and to have believed, or knowledge and belief, are one and the same or different?
      GORGIAS. I consider them different, Socrates.
      SOCRATES. You are right; and you can prove it thus: if anybody were to say toyou, ‘Can there be both a false belief and a true, Gorgias?’ you would, I think, say that there is.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. But can there be both a false and a true knowledge?
      GORGIAS. By no means.
      SOCRATES. Then it is obvious that knowledge and belief are not the same.
      GORGIAS. You are right.
      SOCRATES. But both those who have learned and those who believe have been persuaded.
      GORGIAS. That is so.
      SOCRATES. Shall we lay it down then that there are two forms of persuasion, the one producing belief without knowledge, the other knowledge?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.

      The conversation that occurs between Gorgias and Socrates displays the Socratic Dialect. This is shown by Socrates asking Georgias numerous amount of questions to draw out his ideas. Abram’s perception of Socrates’ dialect is shown through Socrates and Gorgia’s conversation. During this conversation, Socrates’s purpose for continuously asking questions after Gorgias replies is to extract Gorgia’s true reasoning. He did not want Gorgias to answer with his emotions, rather he wanted him to have his own belief in the argument using raw facts.

    • SOCRATES. Then according to this principle he who has learned justice is just.
      GEORGIAS. Most assuredly.
      SOCRATES. And the just man, I suppose, does just acts?
      GEORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. Now the rhetorician must necessarily be just, and the just man must wish to do just actions?
      GEORGIAS: Evidently.
      SOCRATES. Then the just man will never wish to do injustice?
      GEORGIAS. Necessarily.
      SOCRATES. And our argument demands that the rhetorician be just?
      GEORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES: Then the rhetorician will never wish to do wrong?
      GEORGIAS. Evidently not.

      The Socratic dialect present in the above excerpt features Socrates’ signature strategy of posing questions that separate the speaker he has chosen to converse with from their original statement. David Abram elaborates on this technique, adding that through separating the speaker from the “phrase and formulas” that they had become accustomed to, their patterns of thought were disrupted. In this particular conversation, Georgias finds himself in a later stage of Socrates’ questioning where he has already been backed into a corner. It is easiest for him to answer with simple agreements, taking him further down Socrates’ predetermined path meant to introduce a contradiction in Georgias’ line of reasoning. These responses are evidence of how the effective questioning of every aspect present in another’s argument gives control of the conversation over to the questioner.

    • “GORGIAS. Something, Socrates, that is in very truth the greatest boon: for it brings freedom to mankind in general and to each man dominion over others in his own country.
      SOCRATES. And what exactly do you mean by that?
      GORGIAS. I mean the power to convince by your words the judges in court, the senators in council, the people in the assembly or in any other gathering of a citizen body. And yet possessed of such power you will make the doctor, you will make the trainer your slave: and your business man will prove to be making money, not for himself, but for another, for you who can speak and persuade multitudes.
      SOCRATES. Now at last, Gorgias, you have revealed most precisely, it seems to me, what art you consider rhetoric to be: and if I understand you aright, you assert that rhetoric is a creator of persuasion, and that all its activity is concerned with this, and this is its sum and substance. Can you state any wider scope for rhetoric than to produce persuasion in the soul of the hearer?” (453A).

      The conversation between Gorgias and Socrates illuminates Socrates tendency to be frequently “questioning them [interlocutors] regarding the real meaning of the qualitative terms they unthinkingly employ in their speaking” (Abram 110). They are debating what it means to be a rhetorician and what exactly the art of rhetoric is. As always, Socrates has an answer in mind before posing any inquiry and he takes this opportunity to “abstract and ponder” these terms that he feels Gorgias explains inadequately (Abram 111).

    • SOCRATES. Good: and now answer in the same way about rhetoric: what is the field of this science?
      GORGIAS. Words.
      SOCRATES. Of what kind, Gorgias? Those that reveal to the sick what E treatment will restore their health?
      GORGIAS. No.
      SOCRATES. Then rhetoric is not concerned with every kind of words.
      GORGIAS. Certainly not.
      SOCRATES. Yet it makes men able to speak.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. And able to think also about the matter of their discourse?
      GORGIAS. Of course.
      SOCRATES. Now does not the science of medicine, which we have just mentioned, make men able to think and to speak about their patients?
      GORGIAS. Assuredly.
      SOCRATES. Then medicine also, it seems, is concerned with words.
      GORGIAS. Yes. SOCRATES. Words about diseases?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.
      SOCRATES. And is not gymnastic concerned with words that relate to good or bad bodily condition?
      GORGIAS. Undoubtedly.
      SOCRATES. And so it is with the other arts also, Gorgias: each of them is concerned with words that have to do with its own subject-matter.
      GORGIAS. Evidently.
      SOCRATES. Then, as the other arts have to do with words, why do you not call them by the name of ‘rhetoric’, since you call rhetoric any art that is concerned with words?
      This excerpt is a debate between Socrates and Gorgias over the meaning of rhetoric. This conversation follows Abram’s interpretation of the Socratic Method rather well. Socrates relentlessly questions Gorgias and his theories as to find out the real argument he is making. This is a prime example of the Socratic dialect at work in which one questions their opposer to find the strengths and weaknesses of their argument.

    • SOCRATES. Then come, tell me about rhetoric. Do you think that rhetoric
      alone produces persuasion or do other arts as well? What I mean is this: when a man teaches a subject, does he persuade where he teaches, or not?
      GORGIAS. One cannot deny that. Socrates: certainly he persuades.
      SOCRATES. Let us take once more the same arts as we discussed just now. Arithmetic and the arithmetician teach us, do they not, the properties of a number?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.
      SOCRATES. And consequently persuade us?
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. Then arithmetic is also a creator of persuasion?
      GORGIAS. Evidently.
      SOCRATES. Now, if anyone should ask us what kind of persuasion and in what field, we shall answer him, I suppose, that which teaches about the odd and the even in all their quantities: and we shall be able to prove that all the other arts just mentioned are creators of persuasion and name the type and the field, shall we not?
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. Then rhetoric is not the only creator of persuasion.
      GORGIAS. That is true
      SOCRATES. Then since other arts besides rhetoric produce this result, we should be justified in asking next, as in the case of the painter, of what kind of persuasion is rhetoric the art, and what is its province? Do you not think that is a fair question to ask next?

      This exchange above is a prime example of the Socratic Dialect. By constantly asking the interlocutors to explain and rephrase what they already said, Socrates is essentially breaking them out of their comfort zone and leading them to question their preconceptions on their deepest fixed beliefs. In this exchange between the two, Socrates attempts to use a seemingly flawless chain of logic where he goes to explain how every field of study has the same property as rhetorics in that they all share the power of persuasion, which begs the question of what sets rhetorics apart from the rest and what exactly is rhetorics trying to persuade. What’s more intriguing is that even after Gorgias responds that rhetorics persuades about morality and justice, Socrates proceeds to point out that this doesn’t answer anything as long as Gorgias fails to give a personal interpretation of the essence of justice without saying what’s already been said. I believe this method can easily break someone’s worldview and bring out his/her truest self.

    • “SOCRATES. Good: and now answer in the same way about rhetoric: what is the field of this science
      GORGIAS. Words.
      SOCRATES. Of what kind, Gorgias? Those that reveal to the sick what treatment will restore their health?
      GORGIAS. No.
      SOCRATES. Then rhetoric is not concerned with every kind of words.
      GORGIAS. Certainly not.
      SOCRATES. Yet it makes men able to speak.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. And able to think also about the matter of their discourse?
      GORGIAS. Of course.
      SOCRATES. Now does not the science of medicine, which we have just mentioned, make men able to think and to speak about their patients?
      GORGIAS. Assuredly.
      SOCRATES. Then medicine also, it seems, is concerned with words.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. Words about diseases?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.”

      David Abram writes about the “Socratic dialect,” a concept where many questions are asked to the speaker to prompt for an engaging discussion. Abram explains the method further, stating: “By asking the speaker to explain himself or to repeat his statement in different terms, Socrates forced his interlocutors to separate themselves.” This is present throughout Gorgias which reveals a dialogue between Socrates and Gorgias. Socrates demonstrates the “Socratic dialect” by posing various questions to further Gorgias’ thinking. For example, Socrates presses on after he asks Gorgias what the field of this science is: “of what kind, Gorgias? Those that reveal to the sick of treatment will restore their health?” This segment of their dialogue supports Abram’s description of the “Socratic dialect” as there is a “clear disruption of mimetic thought patterns of oral culture.” Socrates helps Gorgias separate his thinking and truly ponder about his own words. This guides him to reach a greater, more complex understanding and knowledge from his ideas.

    • SOCRATES. Gorgias: imagine you are questioned by these men and by myself as well, and answer what it is
      you claim to be the greatest blessing to man, and claim also to produce.
      GORGIAS. Something, Socrates, that is in very truth the greatest boon: for it
      brings freedom to mankind in general and to each man dominion over others in his own country.
      SOCRATES. And what exactly do you mean by that?
      GORGIAS. I mean the power to convince by your words the judges in court, the
      senators in council, the people in the assembly or in any other gathering of
      a citizen body. And yet possessed of such power you will make the doctor,
      you will make the trainer your slave: and your business man will prove to be
      making money, not for himself, but for another, for you who can speak and persuade multitudes.
      SOCRATES. Now at last, Gorgias, you have revealed most precisely, it seems to me, what art you consider rhetoric to be: and ifI understand you aright, you
      assert that rhetoric is a creator of persuasion, and that all its activity is concerned with this, and this is its sum and substance. Can you state any wider scope for rhetoric than to produce persuasion in the soul of the
      hearer?
      GORGIAS. By no means, Socrates: I think you define it adequately: for that is its sum and substance.

      Socrates, in his conversation, continues to constantly ask questions to clarify what Gorgias means. By doing this, not only does Socrates get a clearer picture of Gorgias’s ideas, but Gorgias, as well, learns more about his own views and what rhetoric means to him. This is exactly the Socratic method that Abram brings up in his own work, “continually asking his interlocutors to repeat and explain what they had said in other words, by getting them thus to listen to and ponder their own speaking” (Abram 109). Abram explains that many speakers become so used to their way of speaking that they don’t themselves know what their own words really mean. This directly applies to Socrates’ dialogue where Gorgias initially does not know how to define rhetoric, but due to the Socratic Method, he is able to come up with a definition.

    • SOCRATES. Let us take once more the same arts as we discussed just now.
      Arithmetic and the arithmetician teach us, do they not, the properties ofa number?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.
      SOCRA TES. And consequently persuade us?
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRA TES. Then arithmetic is also a creator of persuasion?
      GORGIAS. Evidently.
      SOCRATES. Now, ·ifanyone should ask us what kind ofpersuasion and in what
      field, we shall answer him, I suppose, that which teaches about the odd and
      the even in all their quantities: and we shall be able to prove that all the 454A other arts just mentioned are creators ofpersuasion and name the type and
      the field, shall we not?
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRA TES. Then rhetoric is not the only creator of persuasion.
      GORGIAS. That is true
      SOCRA TES. Then ·since other arts besides rhetoric produce this result, we
      should be justified in asking next, as in the case ofthe painter, ofwhat kind ofpersuasion is rhetoric the art, and what is its province? Do you not think B that is a fair question to ask next?
      GORGIAS. I do.
      SOCRA TES. Then answer, Gorgias, since you share my opinion.

      Throughout this passage, Socrates clearly displays the rhetorical technique he is famous for, the “Socratic method”. Abram describes this technique phenomenally when he writes “By continually asking his interlocutors to repeat and explain what they had said in other words, by getting them thus to listen to and ponder their own speaking, Socrates stunned his listeners out of the mnemonic trance demanded by orality, and hence out of the sensuous, storied realm to which they were accustomed.” This phrase eloquently sums up the purpose for the Socratic method, which is to allow speakers to truly analyze and ponder the implications and true intentions of their words. Additionally, as Abrams says, the Socratic method was an incredibly useful technique to allow audiences to better understand what a speaker was saying. By questioning his interlocutors over and over until they boiled down their verbose, complex arguments into clear and succinct points, Socrates made their discussions much more accessible for those listening. Abrams also points out that Socrates and his method effectively changed the course of discussions about virtue, mathematics, etc from simply recounting examples to actually investigating and defining their true, permanent essence. Throughout his essay, Abrams makes a strong case for the Socratic method being a revolutionary form of dialogue that changed rhetoric and oral discussion for the better.

    • SOCRATES. And able to think also about the matter of their discourse?
      GORGIAS. Of course.
      SOCRATES. Now does not the science of medicine, which we have just mentioned, make men able to think and to speak about their patients?
      GORGIAS. Assuredly.
      SOCRATES. Then medicine also, it seems, is concerned with words.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. Words about diseases?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.
      SOCRATES. And is not gymnastic concerned with words that relate to good or bad bodily condition?
      GORGIAS. Undoubtedly.

      After reading Gorgias, it is clear that Socrates’ method of dialect fits perfectly with the pattern described by David Abram. Abram explains how Socratic dialect involves a person asking questions to the speaker about their statements to make them think more in-depth about what they are arguing. By asking the speaker follow-up questions or to reword their concept in a different way, it forces them to rethink what they are saying and whether it is their own ideas or if they are being influenced by society. This was especially important in oral cultures as people often got trapped into using common phrases in order to make their speech easier to remember. However, this also caused people to recite many similar concepts, so using the Socratic dialect forced people out of their comfort zones, making them think more individualist thoughts. In Gorgias, Socrates constantly questions Gorgias while he is speaking, utilizing the patterns that Abram discusses to further the depth of the conversation. These methods are still used to this day in educational settings, as Socratic seminars are a common task given to students in school as it forces them to question one another’s ideas, helping them eventually reach a deeper understanding of the topic.

    • SOCRATES. Good: and now answer in the same way about rhetoric: what is the field of this science?
      GORGIAS. Words.
      SOCRATES. Of what kind, Gorgias? Those that reveal to the sick what treatment will restore their health?
      GORGIAS. No.
      SOCRATES. Then rhetoric is not concerned with every kind of words.
      GORGIAS. Certainly not.
      SOCRATES. Yet it makes men able to speak.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. And able to think also about the matter of their discourse?
      GORGIAS. Of course.
      SOCRATES. Now does not the science of medicine, which we have just mentioned, make men able to think and to speak about their patients?

      During Socrates and Gorgias dialogue, Socrates constantly asked questions about the meaning of rhetoric. Through the constant questioning Socrates had for Gorgias, it reinforces Abram’s interpretation of Socratic Method where the questions are used to help shape and engage in a discussion. The prompting of questions Socrates kept on asking Gorgias reveals “Socratic dialect” as the questioning leads to further development of a discussion and thinking on both sides of the conversation. Through the questioning that Socrates gives to Gorgias, it reveals how Socrates is trying to change the way Gorgias thinks in terms of differentiating his thoughts.

    • SOCRATES. And now let us have your reply, Gorgias. Rhetoric is one of the arts that achieve and fulfill their function entirely through words, is it not?
      GORGIAS. That is so.
      SOCRATES. Tell me then in what field. What is the subject matter of the words employed by rhetoric?
      GORGIAS. The greatest and noblest of human affairs, Socrates.
      SOCRATES. But, Gorgias, what you are now saying is disputable and not yet clear. I think you must have heard men singing at drinking parties the familiar song in which they enumerate our blessings, health being the first, beauty the second, and third, as the composer of the song claims, wealth obtained without dishonesty.
      GORGIAS. I have heard it. But what is the point of your remark?
      SOCRATES. Suppose the men who produce the blessings praised by the author of that song should suddenly appear, the doctor, the trainer, and the businessman, and the doctor should speak first and say: ‘Socrates, Gorgias is deceiving you: it is not his craft, but mine, that is concerned with the greatest blessing to mankind’.

      In this excerpt, Gorgias and Socrates are displaying the Socratic Dialect by having a conversation about the importance of rhetoric. To elaborate and extend his thoughts Socrates askes a multitude of questions. This example closely relates to the thoughts Abrham had about the Socratic dialect because Socrates is trying to make Gorgias deepen his thoughts so he can fully explain what his thoughts are. This also allows for a deeper understanding of the topic, drawing to the facts in Gorgia’s reasoning.

    • GORGIAS. The art of Rhetoric, Socrates.
      SOCRATES. Then we must call you a rhetorician?
      GORGIAS. Yes, and a good one, Socrates, if you really want to call me what in Homer’s expression, I boast myself to be.
      SOCRATES. That is what I want
      GORGIAS. Then call me so.
      SOCRATES. Are we to say that you can make rhetoricians of others also?
      GORGIAS. That is the profession I make both here and elsewhere.
      SOCRATES. Would you be willing, Gorgias, to continue our present method of conversing by question and answer, postponing to some other occasion lengthy discourses of the type begun by Polus? You must not, however, them by the name of ‘rhetoric’, since you call rhetoric any art that is concerned with words?

      Socrate’s method fits the pattern described by David Abram. According to Abrams, the Socratic method is a form of dialogue that utilizes the asking of questions and deep conversation in order to gain better understanding and insight of people’s arguments and ideas. This method is unique, however, since it also allows for the person who came up with the topic to further understand and interpret their own ideas in a way previously never thought of. The method was named after ancient Greek philosopher Socrates since it was indeed his method of dispersing his knowledge, ideas and teachings throughout ancient Athens. The “demanded orality” (Abrams) allowed one to “listen to and ponder their own speaking” (Abrams) and this is precisely what occurs between Gorgias’s and Socrates’s dialogue. Here, Socrates is prompting the sophist Gorgias, the rhetorician, to think about what he is saying about himself being a great rhetorician. Socrates then asks Gorgias if he is willing to engage in this “question and answer” (Plato) form which in turn causes Gorgias to think about his “profession” (Plato); this self reflection on one’s thoughts is what defines the Socratic method which is indeed present and the pattern depicted by Abrams.

    • SOCRATES. Well then: you claim that you are an expert in the art of rhetoric and that you can make rhetoricians of others. Now just what is the scope of
      rhetoric? Weaving, for example, has to do with the making of garments: you agree?
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. And music with composing melodies?
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. By Hera, Gorgias, I marvel at your answers: they could not be briefer.
      GORGIAS. Yes, I think I succeed pretty well, Socrates.
      SOCRATES. Good: and now answer in the same way about rhetoric: what is the field of this science?
      GORGIAS. Words.
      SOCRATES. Of what kind, Gorgias? Those that reveal to the sick what treatment will restore their health?
      GORGJAS. No.
      SOCRATES. Then rhetoric is not concerned with every kind of words.
      GORGIAS. Certainly not.

      Socrates has long held the belief that an unexamined life is not worth living. He believes that knowledge and the constant quest for truth are justice, and that ignorance is injustice. To him, an ignorant (or unjust man) tries to assert himself correct over everyone, despite whether he is right or wrong. To disarm his interlocutors, Socrates ask a series of questions that point his fellow interlocutors in the direction of his argument without explicitly stating it. This Socratic dialect poses an independent thought to whom is being asked, so they can formulate their own opinions and separate themselves from their ignorance. We see this not only in the dialogue between himself and Gorgios, but again in “The Republic of Plato” when speaking with Cephalus, Polemarchus, and Thrasymachus. Author David Abram of “The Spell of the Sensous” commends this Socratic dialogue, as this questioning allows the speaker to expand on their own line of reasoning and break the habitual pattern of recitation and ignorance.

    • SOCRATES. Then let us consider the next point. Is there a state which you call ‘having learned’?
      GORGIAS. There is.
      SOCRATES. And such a thing as ‘having believed’?
      GORGIAS. There is.
      SOCRATES..Now do you think that to have learned and to have believed, or D knowledge and belief, are one and the same or different?
      GORGIAS. I consider them different, Socrates.
      SOCRA TES. You are right; and you can prove it thus: if anybody were to say to you, ‘Can there be both a false belief and a true, Gorgias?’ you would, I think, say that there is.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. But can there be both a false and a true knowledge?
      GORGIAS. By no means.
      SOCRA TES. Then it is obvious that knowledge and belief are not the same.
      The dialogue between Socrates and Gorgias does fit the pattern put forth by Abrams. Socrates here engages Gorgias through repeated questioning of his logic and through this he forces Gorgias to reflect on his own ideas. His questioning aligns with his infamous Socratic dialect, which Socrates was known for. Through the constant questioning and digging, it causes the other person to reach a reckoning with their own ideas and makes them question their own validity. It forces a separation of idea and person as the opposition must now view their own ideas in an external perspective. Ultimately, this leads to an exacted conclusion from Gorgias that also compels an explanation for his rhetoric, which is all artfully manipulated by Socrates.

    • In the Gorgias, the sophist Gorgias serves as a sort of figurehead for the dialogue. The real theme is Gorgias’ profession, the teaching of rhetoric. We present here only the opening scenes of the
      Gorgias, in which Socrates seeks from Gorgias an answer to his question concerning the nature of rhetoric, namely, “About which of the things which
      exist [ton onton] is it a science [episteme]?”The selection ends with Socrates dividing the arts (technai) into eight parts and showing that both sophistic and rhetoric are sham arts, mere “flatteries,” in relation to the care of the soul, just as cooking and cosmetology are sham arts in relation to the care of the body. Sophistic and rhetoric, like cooking and cosmetology, he says, aims at pleasure rather than at that which is good. for the soul.

      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. And music with composing melodies?
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. By Hera, Gorgias, I marvel at your answers: they could not be
      briefer.
      GORGIAS. Yes, I think I succeed pretty well, Socrates.
      SOCRATES. Good: and now answer in the same way about rhetoric: what is the
      field of this science?
      GORGIAS. Words.
      SOCRATES. Of what kind, Gorgias? Those that reveal to the sick what E
      treatment will restore their health?
      GORGIAS. No.
      SOCRATES. Then rhetoric is not concerned with every kind of word.
      GORGIAS. Certainly not.
      SOCRATES. Yet it makes men able to speak.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. And able to think also about the matter of their discourse?
      GORGIAS. Of course.
      SOCRATES. Now does not the science of medicine, which we have just 450A
      mentioned, make men able to think and to speak about their patients?
      GORGIAS. Assuredly.

    • SOCRATES. Good: and now answer in the same way about rhetoric: what is the
      field of this science?
      GORGIAS. Words.
      SOCRATES. Of what kind, Gorgias? Those that reveal to the sick what E
      treatment will restore their health?
      GORGJAS. No.
      SOCRATES. Then rhetoric is not concerned with every kind of words.
      GORGIAS. Certainly not.
      SOCRATES. Yet it makes men able to speak.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. And able to think also about the matter of their discourse?
      GORGIAS. Of course.
      SOCRATES. Now does not the science of medicine, which we have just 450A
      mentioned, make men able to think and to speak about their patients?
      GORGIAS. Assuredly.
      SOCRATES. Then medicine also, it seems, is concerned with words.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. Words about diseases?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.
      SOCRATES. And is not gymnastic concerned with words that relate to good or
      bad bodily condition?
      GORGIAS. Undoubtedly.

      In classic Socratic fashion, the pelt of questions continues for a while, whittling away at the problem before a satisfactory answer is reached. Such is in line with Abram’s description of the Socratic method, which correctly places emphasis on breaking apart ideas via questions that allow for a complete (or rather, more complete) understanding of the matter at hand.

    • SOCRATES: No, not if you are ready to answer instead: I would much rather question you. For it is obvious from what Polus has said that he is much better versed in what is called rhetoric than in dialogue.
      POLUS: How is that, Socrates?
      SOCRATES: Why, Polus, because when Chaerepho asks in what art Gorgias is proficient, you praise his art as though someone were attacking it, but neglect to answer what it is.
      POLUS: Did I not answer that it was the noblest of arts?
      SOCRATES: Certainly. But no one is asking in what kind of art Gorgias is engaged but what it actually is and what we should call Gorgias. On the lines laid down before by Chaerepho, when you answered correctly and briefly, tell us now in similar manner what this art is and what name we must give to Gorgias. Or rather, Gorgias, tell us yourself in what art you are expert and what we should call you.

      Through the dialogue shared between the two we can see an almost aggressive exchange of questions and answers on the topic of how they should regard Gorgias art. Socrates frames these questions using “why” to spur the conversation and dig deeper into Polus’ insights. He also asks him to expand on what he has already said and challenges him to refine and clearly establish his argument such that he is forced to think and respond more rationally.

    • SOCRATES. Then let us consider the next point. Is there a state which you call ‘having learned’?
      GORGIAS. There is.
      SOCRATES. And such a thing as ‘having believed’?
      GORGIAS. There is.
      SOCRATES. Now do you think that to have learned and to have believed, or
      knowledge and belief, are one and the same or different?
      GORGIAS. I consider them different, Socrates.
      SOCRATES. You are right; and you can prove it thus: if anybody were to say to you, ‘Can there be both a false belief and a true, Gorgias?’ you would, I
      think, say that there is.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. But can there be both a false and a true knowledge?
      GORGIAS. By no means.
      SOCRATES. Then it is obvious that knowledge and belief are not the same.
      GORGIAS. You are right.
      SOCRATES. But both those who have learned and those who believe have been persuaded.
      GORGIAS. That is so.
      SOCRATES. Shall we lay it down then that there are two forms of persuasion, the one producing belief without knowledge, the other knowledge?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.

      Socrate’s method fit David Abram’s perspective towards the Socratic method. By aiming to make the speaker get rid of repeating himself, Socrates allows the interlocutor to reflect on himself through a forceful way. In this part of excerpt, Socrates throws out a series of questions step by step to challenges the interlocutor to think critically and make clear on what he just said. As Abram mentions in his writing that Socrates repetitively ask the interlocutor to explain for himself, Socrates here uses this method to make Gorgia listen to himself and invoke Gorgia’s critical thinking. By doing so, the interlocutor’s own logics become more clear as Socrates insists on seeking the real essence of the interlocutor’s talking.

    • As David Abram analyzes Socrates’ interactions with interlocutors, one thing he notes, which is undeniable, is the discourse Socrates creates by questioning his listeners with the intent of producing a different perspective from the original rhetorical way of life. However, where Abram’s analysis deviates from Socrates’ actions is the purpose. While Abram claims that Socrates’ dialect serves to disrupt the “the mimetic thought patterns of oral culture,” I believe what Socrates’ dialect was actually trying to do was not disrupt it, but rather deepen its user’s understanding of what they were saying, by assigning terms to descriptions that would allow for them to become of importance. He wanted everything to be its own individual, with its own spirit, body, and voice. I don’t believe that Socrates was trying to extract human connection from the world surrounding it; rather, Socrates was trying to heighten that connection. Socrates’ dialect was the glass prism to oral culture’s white light. While oral culture saw all things as one long singular string, Socrates’ dialect took that string and made itself pieces of cloth for clothes to be worn.

      SOCRATES. Good: and now answer in the same way about rhetoric: what is the
      field of this science?
      GORGIAS. Words.
      SOCRATES. Of what kind, Gorgias? Those that reveal to the sick what treatment will restore their health?
      GORGJAS. No.
      SOCRATES. Then rhetoric is not concerned with every kind of words.
      GORGIAS. Certainly not.
      SOCRATES. Yet it makes men able to speak.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. And able to think also about the matter of their discourse?
      GORGIAS. Of course.
      SOCRATES. Now does not the science of medicine, which we have just mentioned, make men able to think and to speak about their patients?
      GORGIAS. Assuredly.
      SOCRATES. Then medicine also, it seems, is concerned with words.
      GORGIAS. Yes.
      SOCRATES. Words about diseases?
      GORGIAS. Certainly.
      SOCRATES. And is not gymnastic concerned with words that relate to good or
      bad bodily condition?
      GORGIAS. Undoubtedly.
      SOCRATES. And so it is with the other arts also, Gorgias: each of them is concerned with words that have to do with its own subject-matter.
      GORGIAS. Evidently.
      SOCRATES. Then, as the other arts have to do with words, why do you not call them by the name of ‘rhetoric’, since you call rhetoric any art that is
      concerned with words?

    • Before the creation of the alphabet, conversation did not have a “reflexive capacity”, keeping it in a state of patterns and specific structures that limited the length of thoughts or their in-depth capabilities. David Abram claims that once the alphabet was created, Socrates took full advantage of it in order to question people’s thoughts- whether they truly meant what they were saying, or if they were just repeating what they remembered. He paints Socrates with a high degree of class and intelligence as he goes on to explain that the Socratic method allowed Socrates to disrupt the “mimetic thought patterns of oral culture”, effectively interrupting people’s predetermined thought patterns and causing them to precisely understand their words.
      However, in Plato’s Gorgias, when Socrates employs the Socratic method, he does not do so in order to stimulate cooperative argumentation or discover underlying presumptions. Instead, he repeatedly questions Gorgias about rhetoric with one thought in mind- to prove that he himself is correct. He uses his line of questioning to decide which direction the conversation goes in, and inevitably manipulates it to support his own opinion and prove that he is the better speaker. Throughout his conversation with Gorgias, Socrates constantly antagonizes him, interrogating him and hardly letting him speak. Once Gorgias finally reaches the level of irritation that Socrates wished for, Socrates asks Gorgias- almost mockingly- if he’d like to stop. He is “afraid” that Gorgias believes that he is speaking “with malice” toward him, and that Gorgias is “more anxious for verbal victory than to investigate the subject under discussion”, because what he is saying is “not quite consistent or in tune “ with what he first said about rhetoric. Overall, Socrates somewhat uses Gorgias’ skill against him, using rhetoric to explain that rhetoric is only used to please, and essentially, evil.

      SOCRATES. I think, Gorgias, that, like myself, you have had much experience in discussions and must have observed that speakers can seldom define the topic of debate and after mutual instruction and enlightenment bring the meeting to a close: but if they are in dispute and one insists that the other’s statements are incorrect or obscure, they grow angry and imagine their opponent speaks with malice toward them, being more anxious for verbal victory than to investigate the subject under discussion. And finally some of them part in the most disgraceful fashion, after uttering and listening to such abusive language that their audience are disgusted with themselves for having deigned to give ear to such fellows. Now why do I say this? Because, it seems to me, what you are now saying is not quite consistent or in tune with what you said at first about rhetoric. But I am afraid to cross-examine you, for fear you might think my pertinacity is against you, and not to the clarification of the matter in question. Now, if you are the same kind of man as I am, I should be glad to question you: if not, I will let you alone. And what kind of man am l? One of those who would gladly be refuted if anything I say is not true, and would gladly refute another who says what is not true, but would be no less happy to be refuted myself than to refute: for I consider that a greater benefit, inasmuch as it is a greater boon to be delivered from the worst of evils oneself than to deliver another. And I believe there is no worse evil for man than a false opinion about the subject of our present discussion. If you then are the same kind of man as I am, let us continue: but if you feel that we should drop the matter, then let us say goodbye to the argument and dismiss it.

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