Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Socrates First Impression

After reading the first few pages in The Republic, my first impression of Socrates is that he is a wise man. He is always more than happy to lend his opinion or wisdom to any conversation and uses the Socratic method of questioning to provoke more interesting debate. Socrates’ Ethos in the passage, contain the three markers of persuasion. Firstly, phronesis is present with the sheer belief that Socrates is an intelligent and wise man. People around him recognize this wisdom and are curious about what he has to say. The arête, or moral virtue is present when Socrates asks Polemarchus, “And what about human beings, comrade; shouldn’t we say that, when they are harmed, they become worse with respect to human virtue?” and then later adds, “then isn’t justice human virtue?” Polemarchus agrees to the assumption made my Socrates due to Socrates’ consistent use of syllogistic reasoning. Lastly, the third prong of persuasion is present because of Socrates’ general goodwill towards the people he is speaking to. His Logos is connected to his ethos in that they are both highly convincing. On page 9, Socrates says, “So whenever someone is a clever guardian of something, he is also clever at stealing it…so if a just person is clever and guarding money, he must also be clever at stealing it.” Using this enthymeme, Socrates purposefully leaves out the major premise to force Polemarchus to reach an implied conclusion. Earlier in the text, Socrates uses yet another enthymeme when speaking to Glaucon and Polemarchus. Glaucon says, “it looks as if we will have to stay.” To which Socrates replies, “if you think so, we must.” This excerpt is missing the major premise which could be, “What Glaucon thinks should happen, should happen”, or something to that effect. Socrates’ pathos is apparent on page 9 when he says, “Speaking of friends, do you mean those a person believes to be good and useful, or those who actually are good and useful, even if he does not believe they are, and similarly with enemies?” This is effective because it plays into peoples’ beliefs and perceptions on what it means to be a good friend and they probably draw from their own personal experience with friends as they hear Socrates.

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