Pragmatic and Idealistic Rhetoric Analytical Essay
Pragmatic and Idealistic Rhetoric
An analysis of Aristotle and Plato's differing views on rhetoric in relation to society.
# 146208 | 1,612 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2010 |
Published on Dec 22, 2010 in Philosophy (Ancient Greek) , Political Science (Political Theory) , Sociology (Theory) , Philosophy (Ethics)
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In this article, the writer discusses the practicality of rhetoric in society, focusing on the differing views of Aristotle and Plato, two of the earliest rhetoricians. The writer points out that Aristotle has a pragmatic attitude towards rhetoric, believing that rhetoric can be applied to persuade on a variety of issues in society. Plato, on the other hand, regards rhetoric idealistically, believing that rhetoric generally isn't appropriate for society, and should only be used in philosophical discourse. The writer maintains that this disagreement ultimately shows that Aristotle's pragmatic rhetoric influences society more than Plato's idealistic rhetoric. The writer concludes that although Plato's idealistic rhetoric may possibly contain less flaws and risks to society, it is clearly not as influential in society as Aristotle's pragmatic view on rhetoric.
From the Paper:"Aristotle and Plato clearly have differing forms of rhetoric. Aristotle's pragmatic rhetoric, however, is capable of influencing society more than Plato's idealistic rhetoric. First of all, Aristotle provides three highly broad categories for the use of rhetoric, whereas Plato only sees "good" and "bad" rhetoric. Because Aristotle classifies rhetoric into three categories of diverse and broad applications, Aristotle's classification offers many more potential applications than Plato's rhetoric, which only contains one "good" category. In addition, by considering rhetoric to be a balance between truth and persuasion, Aristotle sets a standard that is much more reasonable to achieve than Plato's requirement of absolute knowledge. Lastly, Aristotle overall has faith that rhetoric can do good in society. By believing in naturally superior beliefs, Aristotle argues against rhetoric's potential risks to society, and argues that rhetoric can benefit society if applied. Plato, on the other hand, simply imposes a lot of restrictions on the application of rhetoric. By expecting absolute truth, which few can achieve, distrusting rhetoric and emphasizing a language style that is unappealing to the general public, Plato's idealistic rhetoric has less potential to influence society. "
Sample of Sources Used:
- Aristotle. Aristotle on Rhetoric: a Theory of Civic Discourse. Trans. George A Kennedy. New York: Oxford UP, 2007. Print.
- Plato. "Gorgias" Plato on Rhetoric and Language: Four Key Dialogues. Ed. Jean Nienkamp. Trans. Jean Nienkamp. Mahwah, NJ: Hermagoras, 1999. 83-162. Print.
- Plato. "Phaedrus" Plato on Rhetoric and Language: Four Key Dialogues. Ed. Jean Nienkamp. Trans. Jean Nienkamp. Mahwah, NJ: Hermagoras, 1999. 163-214. Print.
- Plato. Plato on Rhetoric and Language: Four Key Dialogues. Ed. Jean Nienkamp. Trans. Jean Nienkamp. Mahwah, NJ: Hermagoras, 1999. 163-214. Print.
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