Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Socrates knows Nothing

By the end of the first book I was more convinced of Socrates argument than that of Thrasymachus. I believe that Socrates was more experienced with the type of argument they were having. One can use Aristotle’s theory on rhetoric to explain the winning argument of Socrates. Perhaps the most striking characteristic of Socrates is his ability and refute and rebuff his position by the use of questions. These questions demonstrate the usage of paradigm. On many occasions Socrates lists examples after examples to dictate the direction of his logic. “and the knowing is wise? Yes. And the wise is good? True. Then the wise and god will not desire to gain more than his like but more than his unlike and opposite? I suppose so.” (TR pg.24) As a result of this question and answer Socrates was able to slowly and meticulously build his case. Many of his examples employ common and simplistic examples like, the pilot, musician, and physician. This demonstrates his use of phronesis. Socrates also is more convincing because he is never over emotional when trying to prove his point. The respect he gives Thrasymachus shows that he respects him and his opinions because he is a “philosopher.” (TR pg. 11) As a result we see the use of eunoia in his ethos. Although Socrates in the end claims that he “know nothing at all”, which could be thought of as a way of being humble. (TR pg. 29) Aristotle implies that “an act of persuasion depends so much on the prior circumstances and experiences of the given members of an audience” that the result is given before the conversation has even begun. (EP pg. 12) For Socrates, who was among his friends, knew how to appeal to his listeners and to ask questions in which he knew the response from others. This allowed him to control the conversation and allow others to see the merit of his points.

2 Comments:

Blogger RyanG said...

So you are saying: being that Socrates knew his compaitriarts he thus knew how to persuade their thoughts to that of his own. At the beging you said that he does so by asking questions. Here is where I get lost in you comment. Personally I do not see how he can do so just by asking a question. Unless you mean that by asking a question and causing a discussion of what is in question. If this is what you meant then I follow.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

I really like how you explain the method that Socrates uses against Thrasymachus as "building his argument" through small and simple questions. I also think that part of the reason that Thrasymachus lost so horribly in this book is that he was not fully thinking through what he was saying. He was just going with the flow of logic, which is sometimes good, but this time it got him in trouble since his competitor SOCked it to him.

8:20 PM  

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