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Discussion

Compare And Contrast The Treatment Of Rhetoric In The Political Thought Of Plato And Aristotle. Which View Do You Find More Compelling?

The rhetoric can be defined as the art discourse, in which the writer tends to persuade or inform a particular section of population or the audience (Jewel, 2016). Aristotle has given the best definition of rhetoric whichopines that rhetoric can be defined as the combination of both politics and logic. The rhetoric is considered as one of the most important works on persuasion. As compared to Aristotle, the theories of Plato mention that the subsequent theories of rhetoric are considered as response to the original theory being created by Aristotle (Goulimari, 2014). This can be attributed to the disciplinary divisions, which can be dated back to Peter Ramus attacks on Aristotle. This essay would analyze the different perspectives of both Aristotle and Plato. It would also argue on the views, which becomes more appealing.

Plato’s opinion regarding the rhetoriccan’t be considered as high opinion since in the Gorgias, the concept of rhetoric was compared to that of “sham” which misguided men to counsel with underlying principles (Cope, 2015). He argued that the rhetoric has the power to stand up against everyone else and it can win over vast multitudes of everything. He also supports the fact that if a man, after learning rhetoric, misuses his power, then it is not justifiable to ban and detest his teacher (Cope, 2015). This is because of the fact the teacher cannot be blamed for his teachings. He may have imparted instructions that were to be used in the right context, but the pupil may have made wrong use of the same. Plato concluded that it is correct to detest the concerned misuser, kill him and instead spare his teacher (Cornford, 2014).

The primary function of the rhetoric is to lead the souls and master this art form (Dominik, 2014). Plato engaged in the idea of exploring the nature of soul, on which rhetoric was to be used. He pondered upon the idea whether the soul was uniform, one or there are several kinds of the soul (Cope, 2015). If there is existence of different kinds of souls, then Plato also pondered that whether the power of acting belonged to each individual soul or the overall ones (Kastely, 2015). Plato found that the implications of this technique is interesting. One leader who is aware of the human nature should possess a diabolical power or divine power so that he can use the human beings in a way he wishes to (Cope, 2015). In this situation, Plato has made a distinction between non-philosophical and philosophical uses of this art (Hegel, 2015). He opined the fact that a genuine rhetorician should be aware of the truth of the matters for the reason he is engaging in pursuing his people (Morrow, 1953, pp. 241). A man should know the difference between two fundamental units so that he can actually persuade the people in a better way.

Conclusion

As compared to the views of Plato, rhetoric view of Aristotle usually focuses on the aspects of pathos and ethos. Both these concepts have been known to affect judgment (Furley&Nehamas, 2015). The ethos and pathos are known to affect the audience when it is important for the speaker to engage in persuasion with the audience. A third type of appeal was also pointed by Aristotle that is concerned with the logos, which the writer or the speaker should use a tool for persuasion (Hegel, 2015). Aristotle argued that the ethos is portrayed during the act of persuasion and it is concerned with the characteristics of the speaker. There are three basic pre-requisites which are needed to appear credible (Hegel, 2015).They are competence, empathy and good intention (Yack,  2006, pp. 421). The speaker’s ethos is usually transmitted through the modes of self-portrayal, which is influenced further by paraverbal and non-verbal factors (Gallez& Reynders, 2015). There is no general good or general bad which is relevant in impression management and self-portrayal. Each action should always be interpreted in the proper context of the situation or the speech (Hegel, 2015). On the other hand, pathos discloses the emotional influence of the speaker on the audience. The primary objective of the pathos is to minimize the ability of the person to judge. There is one possibility of using by the method of figure of speech (Gallez & Reynders, 2015). The figures should be used to use specific content as well as arguments in background or foreground. Aristotle also focused on the idea of logos, which is an appeal towards the logical reasoning (Hegel, 2015). This enables the speakers to demonstrate the argument which appears sound to the audience. For the purpose of argumentation of the arguments, the various kinds of proofs as well as reasoning are of primary concern. The proofs can comprise of both natural as well as artificial proofs (Gallez& Reynders, 2015). The natural proofs are the ones in which different kinds of data such as testimonies and documents are being given. On the other hand, the technical proofs are the ones which comprise of a combination of information as well as the art of logic.


He observed that the tools of rhetoric were being used to manipulate the emotion of others by the omission of several facts (Gallez& Reynders, 2015). He opined that logic is often closely related with reasoning so that a level of scientific certainty can be reached. Rhetoric was often compared with persuading the general audience by the use of probable knowledge so that the practical issues can be resolved.

The works of Aristotle was based on hypothesis, observation and experimentation, while the works of Plato was based on virtue and morality (Baer, 2015). The works of Plato had lengthy discussions on various matters of courage, wisdom and justice. He also discusses the role of morality and ethics in philosophy and how the concept of rhetoric was formulated. The views of Aristotle arehighly critical regarding the ideal constitution which is being set by Plato Republic and on the grounds of political unity. It also overvalued political unity and it embraces communism system in which there is inimical to the human nature.

I find that the views of Aristotle were more compelling since he believed in the fact that this technique can be used to educate others. On the other hand, Plato believed in the fact that the rhetoric was considered as an evil since it often persuaded others to act in a poor way. Aristotle view was mostly based on the fact that the truth can be reached through the use of intellects with the help of several tools such as affirmative, denial and others (Barnes, 2014). This also forms the crux of Aristotle’s views which would have a direct influence on the readers or the audience. The views of Aristotleare more ethical and believes in the fact that this can convince others to perform good as the character of the speaker is being taken into account (Gallez& Reynders, 2015). He also trusted the good character of the speaker, which would make the readers to believe about the credibility of the content (Chroust, 2015). This was strictly refuted by Plato, who argued that the character of the speaker could not be trusted and hence rhetoric would be unable to provide any good to the society (Gallez& Reynders, 2015).

There were significant differences between the ways rhetoric was viewed by both Aristotle and Plato. Aristotle was used to achieve the ideal state with the help of rhetoric and on the other hand, Plato believed in the fact that the rhetoric was unable to achieve the ideal state of convincing the audience. Aristotle believed that universal forms were not always attached to each other while Plato thought that experiments as well as reasoning are sufficient to establish a concept. On the other hand, Aristotle believed that experience and direct observation would be sufficient to establish the quality of an object.

Conclusion

The link between Aristotle and Plato is obvious and  knowledge is considered as virtue. The knowing of the right thing would lead to automatic performance of the right thing. The act of rhetoric was used to  influence or manipulate others by adjusting the factors of omitting facts and the manipulation of various emotions.  Plato was involved in the blame as well as   arrest of Socrates   at the context of sophisticated rhetoric. The primary theory of Aristotle was based on the  dialectic and logic factors. The rhetoric was considered as a practical debate for persuading the general audience by using the probable knowledge. This essay discussed several ways means of comparison between the views of Plato and Aristotle.  The views of Aristotle were more compelling and this is because of the fact that he viewed rhetoric as an ethical one.

References

Baer, R. (2015). Ethics, values, virtues, and character strengths in mindfulness-based interventions: a psychological science perspective. Mindfulness, 6(4), 956-969.

Barnes, J. (Ed.). (2014). Complete Works of Aristotle, Volume 1: The Revised Oxford Translation (Vol. 1). Princeton University Press.

Chroust, A. H. (2015). Aristotle: New Light on His Life and On Some of His Lost Works, Volume 2: Observations on Some of Aristotle's Lost Works. Routledge.

Cope, P. E. M. (2015). Platos Gorgias. Scholars Choice.

Cornford, F. M. (2014). Plato's cosmology: the Timaeus of Plato. Routledge.

Dominik, W. J. (2014). Roman Poetry and Rhetoric: A Reminder of the Affinity between the two Arts. Akroterion, 37(2).

Furley, D. J., &Nehamas, A. (Eds.). (2015). Aristotle's" Rhetoric": Philosophical Essays. Princeton University Press.

Gallez, E., & Reynders, A. (2015). Court interpreting and classical rhetoric: Ethos in interpreter-mediated monological discourse. Interpreting, 17(1), 64-90.

Goulimari, P. (2014). Literary Criticism and Theory: From Plato to Postcolonialism. Routledge.

Hegel, G. W. F. (2015). The philosophy of right. Hackett Publishing.

Jewel, L. A. (2016). Old-School Rhetoric and New-School Cognitive Science: The Enduring Power of Logocentric Categories.

Kastely, J. L. (2015). The Rhetoric of Plato's Republic: Democracy and the Philosophical Problem of Persuasion. University of Chicago Press.

Morrow, G. R. (1953). Plato's conception of persuasion. The Philosophical Review and management, 62(2), 234-250.

Yack, B. (2006). Rhetoric and public reasoning: An Aristotelian understanding of political deliberation. Political Theory, 34(4), 417-438.

Depew, D. J. (1996). Aristotle's" Rhetoric": An Art of Character. Journal of the History of Philosophy, 34(3), 454-456.

Minogue, K. (2006). Rationalism revisited. Society, 43(2), 81-87.

Quimby, R. W. (1974). The growth of Plato's perception of rhetoric. Philosophy & Rhetoric, 71-79. 

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