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Between Rhetoric and Sophistry: The Puzzling Case of Plato’s Gorgias

Jacqueline Tusi
Published Online: 2019-03-07 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/apeiron-2018-0099


The case of Gorgias’ profession has been an object of ongoing dispute among scholars. This is mainly because in some dialogues Plato calls Gorgias a rhetorician, in others a sophist. The purpose of this article is to show that a solution only emerges in the Gorgias, where Plato presents Gorgias’ goals as a rhetorician and its associated arts. On this basis, Plato introduces a systematic division between genuine arts and fake arts, including rhetoric and sophistry, thereby identifying their conceptual differences and similarities. The paper concludes by arguing that Gorgias can be called both a rhetorician and a sophist, provided that the labeling is done from different perspectives.

Keywords: Gorgias; Rhetoric; Sophistry


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About the article

Published Online: 2019-03-07

Citation Information: Apeiron, ISSN (Online) 2156-7093, ISSN (Print) 0003-6390, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/apeiron-2018-0099.

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