Essay about Rhetoric vs. Truth

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The relationship between rhetoric and truth is a highly conflicted topic. Two philosophers that discuss this topic are Plato and Nietzsche. Plato argues that rhetoric is merely a useful craft that deals only in the subjective and material world rather than in the pursuit of true knowledge. Nietzsche, on the other hand, argues that absolute truths are unobtainable since individuals are incapable of being completely objective, thereby rendering the debate between rhetoric and truth meaningless. Although both are valid points of view, Nietzsche’s argument appears to hold more weight insofar as it seems to solve the debate between rhetoric and truth by eliminating absolute truth altogether. To begin, Plato’s view of rhetoric stems from …show more content…
This is one of the reasons why he believes that rhetoric is not synonymous with truth. Plato argues against rhetoric because it deals in the material world, which is not the place where ideas exist, nor does it attempt to attain truth. Rhetoric is more or less, the flawed knowledge of the world being manipulated by language for everyday matters, such as politics and law, rather than being used in the pursuit of absolute truths. Rhetoric is therefore useless. He furthers his argument against rhetoric in his dialogue Gorgias. In Plato’s Gorgias, he argues that rhetoric is untruthful by being based on belief, as well as having the potential for manipulation and deception. In the dialogue, Plato has Socrates distinguish between true knowledge and belief. He argues that there can be false as well as true beliefs, however, there is only true knowledge – one is concrete while the other is changeable and unpredictable. Hence, it follows that knowledge and belief are associated and utilized in different professions and subject areas. So, Socrates has Gorgias admit that rhetoric is limited to the fields of politics and law, which he argues deal in persuasion that is based on belief – as oppose to instructing about a true knowledge of right and wrong. For example, an orator or lawyer may induce a belief about justice, but cannot actually convey a true
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