Historical Rhetorics/Plato's Relationship to Rhetoric/Plato's Denunciation of Rhetoric in the ''Phaedrus''

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McAdon, Brad. "Plato's Denunciation of Rhetoric in the Phaedrus." Rhetoric Review 23.1 (2004): 21-39.

In "Plato's Denunciation of Rhetoric in the Phaedrus," Brad McAdon challenges contentions by Bizzell and Herzog, Welch, Swearingen and others that the Phaedrus defends rhetoric in response to the defamations against rhetoric found in the Gorgias. These positive conceptions operate by locating a "dialectical rhetoric" in the Phaedrus.

He equally rejects the notion of "philosophical rhetoric" as developed by Kennedy. McAdon argues that Plato believes the terms dialectic and rhetoric are forever opposed. Rather than seeking to defend rhetoric, Plato's Phaedrus responds to Isocrates's usurpation of dialectical method for rhetorical purpose in Against the Sophists. He focuses on Plato's "praise" of Isocrates in the Phaedrus, noting how several passages in the Phaedrus are themselves parodies of Isocrates's earlier Against the Sophists.

McAdon concludes contemporary studies can draw upon several important facets of Plato's work, including his epistemic emphasis on "developing confidence in reason, refining generalizations, clarifying issues, analyzing the meanings of words and phrases, questioning deeply by raising and pursuing root or significant questions, analyzing or evaluating arguments, actions, and policies, and reasoning dialectically" (37). But we should also realize that any attempt to align Plato with the rhetoric of Rhetoric and Composition comes more from contemporary pedagogical desire than contextual historical accuracy.