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dc.contributor.authorCharles M., Kauffman
dc.descriptionDissertation (Ph.D.)--University of Kansas, Speech Communication and Human Relations, 1981.en_US
dc.description.abstractIn spite of the texts of Plato's dialogues and the testimony of ancient and modern scholars, Plato has received relatively little attention as a serious rhetorical theorist. Therefore, this study had three goals: to determine if Plato developed a theory of rhetoric distinct from other classical theories; to describe the elements of Plato's theory; and, to trace the influence of Platonic rhetorical theory on subsequent rhetorical theorists.

Plato's dialogues were examined in order to ascertain if Plato developed a theory of rhetoric. While all of the dialogues were consulted, the most important, for the purposes of this study, were the Gorgias, the Phaedrus, the Republic, the Laws, the Statesman, the Menexenus, the Theatetus, the Sophist, the Cratylus, and the Timaeus. The theory which emerged from this investigation was compared with Aristotle's theory of rhetoric as developed in the Rhetoric, the Posterior Analytics, the Nicomachean Ethics, the Politics, the Poetics, and the Topics, to determine if Platonic theory was distinct from Aristotelian rhetorical theory. Subsequently, the rhetorical works of Cicero, Augustine, Fenelon, and Richard Weaver were consulted for evidence of Plato's influence on the development of rhetorical theory.

Chapters I-III consider the fundamental tenets of Aristotelian and Platonic rhetorical theory. Seven factors emerged which characterize Plato's theory of rhetoric: (1) Plato defines rhetoric broadly to encompass all forms of persuasive speech; (2) a priori knowledge informs the content of rhetoric; (3) there exists a doctrinaire, in-group orientation in which rhetoric aims to further specific, discoverable, and significant moral ends; (4) there exists a close relationship between rhetorical and poetic causing dramatic imitation, rather than reason, to emerge as the most important method of persuasion; (5) there exists an emphasis on social control, censorship, and doctrinal conformity derived from an anti-egalitarian onlology; (6) dialectic is the only permissable method for rhetorical invention; and, (7) there is a necessary relationship between hermeneutics and epistemology. Plato differs from Aristotle in his assumption that human beings are not rational, in his unwillingness to accord probability any epistemological status, in his broad definition of rhetoric, in his doctrinaire orientation and his emphasis on social control, and in his use of dialectic. For these reasons, it is concluded that Platonic and Aristotelian theory represent divergent traditions in rhetoric.

Chapters IV-VII consider Plato's influence on subsequent rhetorical theorists in an effort to show that Plato influenced the development of rhetorical theory. It was found that while Cicero shared some ideas in common with Plato, he did not adopt a Platonic theory of rhetoric. Augustine, Fenelon, and Richard Weaver, however, tend to depend more heavily on Plato raising the possibility that there exists on ongoing Platonic tradition in rhetorical theory.
dc.publisherUniversity of Kansasen_US
dc.rightsThis item is protected by copyright and unless otherwise specified the copyright of this thesis/dissertation is held by the author.en_US
dc.titleThe Platonic tradition and the theory of rhetoricen_US
dc.thesis.degreeDisciplineSpeech Communication and Human Relations

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