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The Deep Rhetoric of Plato’s Gorgias

The Deep Rhetoric of Plato’s Gorgias

(p.106) Three The Deep Rhetoric of Plato’s Gorgias
Deep Rhetoric
James Crosswhite
University of Chicago Press

This chapter argues that rhetoric is not a discipline but is, in a way, metadisciplinary; it is a way of understanding not only all language and symbolic activity but also all communication. Since deep rhetoric is, in some respects, a return to philosophical concerns and approaches to rhetoric that are found in Plato’s dialogues, it is worth exploring this connection explicitly. Plato’s dialogues explore several conceptions of rhetoric that are incompatible with one another, and have been read as attacks on rhetoric. Approached in the light of a deep rhetoric, however, they read quite differently. The following sections track Plato’s wrestling with the possibility of a deep rhetoric, particularly in the Gorgias. Rhetoric cannot be rhetoric and philosophy cannot be philosophy until their conceptual alienation from one another is overcome. The project of a deep rhetoric is an attempt at developing this idea.

Keywords:   rhetoric, communication, deep rhetoric, plato’s dialogues, gorgias, conceptual alienation

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