i’m lovin’ Phaedrus – especially after you get beyond the speeches and discover that what this dialogue is about – at least in part – is the exploration of rhetoric, deception and truth (starting on page 535 in our text or section 258 paragraph D).
at this point, socrates begins to debate a point near and dear to me – i.e. what is the relationship between the art of speaking and the truth-content of what is said.
pat and i were discussing just this issue last night (before I read these passages) so it was a real pleasure this morning when i continued my reading of phaedrus to discover plato’s exploration of these matters.
we all know that many politicians, business speakers, book writers disregard truth for the accolades that come from saying what they believe people want to hear. i feel pressure all the time in how we do business or from public conference speeches to say what audiences or clients want to hear – rather than what i may believe they need to hear. we could debate whether i am right about what they need to hear – but my experience shows me that almost every other speaker/consultant ignores the truth (i.e. does not even seek it, making them not liars but simply BSers) in favor of what is easiest to say.
Phaedrus explains this so well when he says:
“What I have actually heard about this, Socrates, my friend, is that it is not necessary for the intending orator to learn what is really just, but only what will seem just to the crowd who will act as judges. Nor again what is really good or noble, but only what will seem so. For that is what persuasion proceeds from, not truth.” (page 536; paragraph 260)
how is your reading of phaedrus going? thoughts on the above or anything else?