Three Disappearing Ladders in Plato

Dorter, Kenneth
July 1996
Philosophy & Rhetoric;1996, Vol. 29 Issue 3, p279
Academic Journal
The article presents information on various issues related to Platonic philosophy. The crucial importance of rhetoric for Plato is most evident in the book "Phaedrus," where Plato, after devoting the first half of the dialogue to "eros" and the love of wisdom, devotes the second half to rhetoric. At first this juxtaposition of themes seems to represent disunity in the dialogue, one that is especially surprising in a work that ridicules discourses that lack a unified and consecutive structure. But the pairing of those themes ceases to seem a mere juxtaposition once one remembers that the philosopher returns to the cave, the achiever of wisdom seeks to impart it to others. Plato has been associated with each of these conceptions--the foundational and the provisional--by different readers. Those who assign him to the first category include the proponents of "Platonism," whether the written or unwritten variety, as well as commentators who see Plato as an early contributor to their own discipline.


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