Way back when, rhetoricians and philosophers had debates over what was better rhetoric or dialect. So, let's take a trip back in time and listen to their points of view.
Hey everyone, I believe that men have the power of construction. They're geniuses! What do you think Gorgias?
I agree, Nietzsche. All who have and do persuade people of things do so by molding a false argument. For if all men on all subjects had memory of things past and awareness of things present and foreknowledge of the future, speech would not be similarly similar, since as things are now it is not easy for them to recall the past nor to consider the present nor to predict the future.
Gorgias, are you saying that there is no such thing as a universal truth? That every concept originates from humans equating what is unequal. That we will never achieve an accurate truth?!
Our experience doesn't allow us to have a universal truth. People only have partial access to the truth and knowledge of what they have done in the past. Universal truth is the same everywhere and since everyone has different experiences and therefore different points of view. All we have access to is our opinions. But we can convey what we believe as the truth through rhetoric, the art of effective and persuasive speaking.
On most subjects men take opinion as counselor to their soul, but since opinion is slippery and insecure it casts those employing it into slippery and insecure arguments. Don't you think so Aristotle?
Well, rhetoric can be complex and unclear to the average person with an untrained mind. Plato may have a different opinion though. You know he always disagrees with everyone.
I think rhetoric is way too powerful. Rhetoric is flatter and has the ability to manage mankind.
Flattery is falsely flattering information in order to create an incorrect belief of good. It is ignorant of reason and principles.
What are you talking about Plato? What even is flattery? Rhetoric is the key to the truth.
That’s injustice! Unethical use of rhetoric is injustice! Injustice is the disease of the soul. Those who are unjust, cannot be happy.
Gorgias, Plato is right… to an extent. Sometimes rhetoric can be too powerful if it’s used unethically. People use rhetoric to bend the truth. A common place for the unethical use of rhetoric is in the courtroom to sway the judge or jury to believe their side of the incident.
I agree people who are falsely accused due to the unethical use of rhetoric in the courtroom are put through a painful emotional experience when they did nothing. How could the accuser live with themselves?
Many evil conquerors who kill are very happy with their riches.
You, Polus have no way to know if evil conquerors are happy at all. I believe happiness is a matter of education and justice and is directly correlated to how good of a person you are. No matter the case, someone who is doing evil can never find happiness. Punishment is the only way to heal these evils and return to happiness. This is exactly why dialect is better!
Dialect is not that important.
What are you talking about? Ugh, I got rid of Polus but now I still have to deal with you. Dialect is the first step in the search for truth. One must first find the truth using dialect and share the information they learn using rhetoric. Rhetoric is the exchange of opinions and only convinces people of what they believe as the truth.
Brrrrr... I'm freezingg
Now let’s time travel to the future. After many centuries, Stanley came along and had his own opinions. Plato, Gorgias and Aristotle have been cryonically frozen to stay alive to see the influence they had on the future.
I can't feel my toes!
This is crazy! So, this is what the future looks like!
Welcome to my home everyone. Glad you could make it! Wanna hear what I believe? I believe that there is flawed ideology in political rhetoric which includes dehumanization and an elite group. Flawed ideology blinds people from injustice. But rhetoric is not always bad. Civic truthful rhetoric can repair flawed ideology.
Rhetoric is not always bad, Plato.
What are you talking about? Nothing can compare to dialect. Dialect is philosophy. It is precisely logic through conversation.
I see what you’re saying Aristotle. I am now starting to see a role for rhetoric in sharing information.
Stanley’s right, People who have the power to use rhetoric just need to use it in truthful, thoughtful persuasion. Rhetoric is essential for the noble search for truth in its correct use along with dialect. Rhetoric is the counterpart of dialect. Both of them are necessary to come to the best possible truth.
Finally Plato! Rhetoric can be biased sometimes since people are motivated by spreading their point of view which is based on their experiences. We would all have the same point of view if we had access to accurate information of the past, present, and future. But since we learn different things as we grow up, there are always multiple points of view.
This is great. We're starting to come to an agreement! Why don't you all come inside.
Don't worry Nietzsche! Rhetoric is here to guide us! It is a tool that can be used to test and attack many derived truths. This should not be done with the intent of hiding or distracting from the truth but instead with the purpose of testing the integrity of the truth. Truthful rhetoric is necessary if one wants to share what is right with society.
Oh no, that means people are lost in a graveyard of perceptions! They have to apply the principle of reason to decipher information.
Listen up, wanna hear to hear of a new style of rhetoric that affects society. It is called propaganda which exploits and strengthens ideas while controlling the flow of information. Propaganda is political rhetoric which can be biased and use emotions to lead people to believe things that aren't true and shape their opinions.
Just another example of where rhetoric is unfair. People lack clear definitions. The problem is not the lie but the belief and acceptance of the lie found in rhetoric.
Hi I'm Kakutani, Stanley's friend, I think as humans we like what is familiar to us and what is familiar to us is not always correct. People have the tendency to believe only the truths that are agreeable to them.
Everyone meet my friend Kakutani.
That's a great point Kakutani! One alters the truth because they want to be content with themselves and not have to face the guilt of reality.
That's true. People only share certain things and it is hard to find the real truth because no one argument is the end all. All arguments are partial and represent a certain point of view.
People nowadays can't think by themselves without being influenced by others in society. Propaganda influences what people believe, buy, and how they live their life. Viewers of propaganda believe everything they see without even knowing if it's verifiable.
Okay, I'm convinced that we all can agree that the power of rhetoric is inherently good and but in unjust means rhetoric cannot be truly great.
Finally, we agree on something Plato.
Gorgias your points are all coming together now. Truth is just a metaphor. It is the substitution that we forgot.
We can try to solve the problem of unjust rhetoric today, by integrating the scientific method into all aspects of our thoughts. Then people won't fall into the pitfalls of habitual thinking. They will have to think by themselves.
Thank you all for visiting! Bye for now!
Bye, thank you for having us!
You now have heard the past and present opinions of rhetoric and dialect. The rhetoricians and philosophers have now realized what they have been wondering all along about the importance of ethical rhetoric.