Socrates: A Short Note On Rhetoric

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15. Polus objects that everyone is bound to claim knowledge of morality. 461b 16. Socrates says rhetoric is merely the knack of pleasing people (like cookery). 462c 17. Rhetoric is bad because it is “a phantom of a branch of statesmanship”. 463d 18. Cookery and ornamentation are false forms of medicine and exercise. 465b 19. Similarly, sophistry and rhetoric are false forms of legislation and justice. 465c 20. Only the intellect can save us from the chaos caused by cookery and rhetoric. 465d 21. Rhetoricians lack power, and do what they think best, but not what they want. 467b 22. The good we want from actions is in the ends, not in the means. 468a 23. So having power over people isn’t good, if misjudgement leads to a worse…show more content…
Nonsense, says Polus. Everyone would enjoy having power over other people. 468e 25. But we should pity unjust dictators, and not envy the power of good ones. 469a 26. Being wronged is not pleasant, but it is preferable to doing wrong. 469c 27. Anyone can commit murder or arson, so that doesn’t count as true power. 469e 28. For those you get punished, though you did what you want. Power gets what is best for us. 470a 29. To prove that immoral power is good, look at the much-envied Archelaus, a successful murderer. 470d 30. Just getting lots of people to say they envy Archelaus doesn’t prove anything. 472b 31. Socrates says a criminal is better off if punished than getting away with it. 472e 32. So it is better for a traitor to be tortured to death than to attain supreme power? 473c 33. Polus admits that it is ‘contemptible’ to do wrong, although it is also ‘good’. 474c 34. Things are judged ‘admirable’ or ‘contemptible’ according to certain standards. 474d 35. Things are admirable or contemptible if they are useful, or pleasant, or both. 474e 36. Since doing wrong is contemptible but pleasant, it must therefore be harmful. 475c 37. Since doing wrong is clearly more harmful than suffering wrong, it must be worse.…show more content…
In all actions, the quality of the deed is transferred to the recipient. 476b 39. For example, if a person hits hard, the victim receives a hard hit. 476c 40. It follows that if punishment is done justly, the wrong-doer receives justice. 476d 41. The wrong-doer receives no pleasure, and must therefore receive a benefit. 477a 42. The benefit for the criminal must be an improvement of the mind. 477a 43. Immorality is the vice of the mind, equivalent to poverty and disease for the body. 477b 44. Immorality is “the worst thing in the world”, because it is the most harmful. 477e 45. Judges cure immorality, as doctors do disease, and business cures poverty. 478a 46. Justice is more admirable than medicine or business, so it confers most benefit. 478b 47. Best is to be moral, next best to be cured of immorality, and immorality is worst. 478e 48. Criminals avoid punishment as patients fear treatment, because they don’t properly understand health. 479a 49. Criminals, then, should seek punishment, not defend themselves with rhetoric. 480b 50. The only use of rhetoric is denouncing criminals, including ourselves! 480c 51. In fact, the only corruption we should defend is that of our enemies, in order to prolong
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