Devin Stauffer demonstrates the complex unity of Plato's Gorgias, through a careful analysis of the dialogue's three main sections, including Socrates' famous argumentative duel with Callicles, a passionate critic of justice and philosophy. He reveals how the seemingly disparate themes of rhetoric, justice, and the philosophic life are woven together into a coherent whole. Stauffer's interpretation of the Gorgias sheds new light on Plato's thought, indicating that Plato and Socrates had a more favorable view of rhetoric than is supposed, and challenges some of Socrates' most famous claims about justice.
Introduction; 1. Examining the master of rhetoric; 2. Polus and the dispute about justice; 3. The confrontation between Socrates and Callicles; 4. Socrates' situation and the rehabilitation of rhetoric; Conclusion: a final reflection on noble rhetoric.
"...an excellent test-stone for any rhetorician who studies Plato's dialogues." - Michael Svoboda, George Washington University