The philosopher and the rhetorician : a study of persuasion in Plato's Gorgias and Aristotle's Rhetoric /
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In his treatise, On Rhetoric, Aristotle argues that there are three species within an art of rhetoric, judicial, deliberative, and epideictic. Aristotle's threefold rhetorical art, which is based on the functioning of the soul toward justice, reveals the possibilities for persuasive speech found in the Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle suggests that the soul and political life can be ordered according to reason through speeches pursuing justice, efficiency, and noble action. The relation between rhetoric and the soul also demonstrates how Socrates' rhetoric in Plato's Gorgias is based on an well-ordered soul, which is a just soul. In contrast to his own persuasion, Socrates demonstrates that the persuasive speech employed and taught by Gorgias, the rhetorician, is based on disorder and injustice. These two texts reveal that the intent of rhetoric is not separate from its practice. A study of the art of rhetoric, based on a study of the just soul and the good life, leads to the higher inquiries into politics and philosophy. Thus, political life and philosophy may benefit when citizens examine the nature of rhetoric, and subsequently, justice, within a community and within a soul.