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Ask Me A question about Plato's Gorgias I will answer it

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#1
Methuselah

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I open this to everyone on the forum. Ask me a Question about Plato's Gorgias and I will answer it! Let the questions begin! (Rules: use only your own knowledge, if you do not know what Plato's Gorgias is, buy a copy, read it, and ask away. No using the internet or other sources other than a translated copy or the original copy of Gorgias by Plato to retrieve your questions from. This is about self improvement, not showing off someone else's knowledge by pawning it off as your own).


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PHANTASM

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ugh...

Didn't Plato write The Republic? Let's talk about that lol.

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Methuselah

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ugh...

Didn't Plato write The Republic? Let's talk about that lol.


I have yet to read that, however I will be adding Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle in a few weeks. To answer your question, Yes Plato did write the dialog titled "The Republic".

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I've only read The Republic as well. I don't mean to spam your topic, but I just wanted to point out to anyone who might not realize, the works of Plato are of course public domain, and so, freely available all over the internet. So unless you have a preference for printed page, or are interested in a copy with supplementary information, its probably easiest to read this at Project Gutenberg - Link Below.

http://www.gutenberg...e/authors/p#a93

#5
Methuselah

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I've only read The Republic as well. I don't mean to spam your topic, but I just wanted to point out to anyone who might not realize, the works of Plato are of course public domain, and so, freely available all over the internet. So unless you have a preference for printed page, or are interested in a copy with supplementary information, its probably easiest to read this at Project Gutenberg - Link Below.

http://www.gutenberg...e/authors/p#a93


Very nice now people won't have to purchase a copy and I may get more questions now, Thank you blackguard. One note to make on project Gutenberg, the translations offered are kind of old if you can find a copy of Gorgias translated by Donald j. Zeyl that would be most beneficial.

#6
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INTRODUCTION.
In several of the dialogues of Plato, doubts have arisen among his interpreters as to which of the various subjects discussed in them is the main thesis. The speakers have the freedom of conversation; no severe rules of art restrict them, and sometimes we are inclined to think, with one of the dramatis personae in the Theaetetus, that the digressions have the greater interest. Yet in the most irregular of the dialogues there is also a certain natural growth or unity; the beginning is not forgotten at the end, and numerous allusions and references are interspersed, which form the loose connecting links of the whole. We must not neglect this unity, but neither must we attempt to confine the Platonic dialogue on the Procrustean bed of a single idea. (Compare Introduction to the Phaedrus.)

Two tendencies seem to have beset the interpreters of Plato in this matter. First, they have endeavoured to hang the dialogues upon one another by the slightest threads; and have thus been led to opposite and contradictory assertions respecting their order and sequence. The mantle of Schleiermacher has descended upon his successors, who have applied his method with the most various results. The value and use of the method has been hardly, if at all, examined either by him or them. Secondly, they have extended almost indefinitely the scope of each separate dialogue; in this way they think that they have escaped all difficulties, not seeing that what they have gained in generality they have lost in truth and distinctness. Metaphysical conceptions easily pass into one another; and the simpler notions of antiquity, which we can only realize by an effort, imperceptibly blend with the more familiar theories of modern philosophers. An eye for proportion is needed (his own art of measuring) in the study of Plato, as well as of other great artists. We may hardly admit that the moral antithesis of good and pleasure, or the intellectual antithesis of knowledge and opinion, being and appearance, are never far off in a Platonic discussion. But because they are in the background, we should not bring them into the foreground, or expect to discern them equally in all the dialogues.

There may be some advantage in drawing out a little the main outlines of the building; but the use of this is limited, and may be easily exaggerated. We may give Plato too much system, and alter the natural form and connection of his thoughts. Under the idea that his dialogues are finished works of art, we may find a reason for everything, and lose the highest characteristic of art, which is simplicity. Most great works receive a new light from a new and original mind. But whether these new lights are true or only suggestive, will depend on their agreement with the spirit of Plato, and the amount of direct evidence which can be urged in support of them. When a theory is running away with us, criticism does a friendly office in counselling moderation, and recalling us to the indications of the text.

Like the Phaedrus, the Gorgias has puzzled students of Plato by the appearance of two or more subjects. Under the cover of rhetoric higher themes are introduced; the argument expands into a general view of the good and evil of man. After making an ineffectual attempt to obtain a sound definition of his art from Gorgias, Socrates assumes the existence of a universal art of flattery or simulation having several branches:—this is the genus of which rhetoric is only one, and not the highest species. To flattery is opposed the true and noble art of life which he who possesses seeks always to impart to others, and which at last triumphs, if not here, at any rate in another world. These two aspects of life and knowledge appear to be the two leading ideas of the dialogue. The true and the false in individuals and states, in the treatment of the soul as well as of the body, are conceived under the forms of true and false art. In the development of this opposition there arise various other questions, such as the two famous paradoxes of Socrates (paradoxes as they are to the world in general, ideals as they may be more worthily called): (1) that to do is worse than to suffer evil; and (2) that when a man has done evil he had better be punished than unpunished; to which may be added (3) a third Socratic paradox or ideal, that bad men do what they think best, but not what they desire, for the desire of all is towards the good. That pleasure is to be distinguished from good is proved by the simultaneousness of pleasure and pain, and by the possibility of the bad having in certain cases pleasures as great as those of the good, or even greater. Not merely rhetoricians, but poets, musicians, and other artists, the whole tribe of statesmen, past as well as present, are included in the class of flatterers. The true and false finally appear before the judgment-seat of the gods below.




My question is, what does this mean?

#7
Methuselah

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INTRODUCTION.
In several of the dialogues of Plato, doubts have arisen among his interpreters as to which of the various subjects discussed in them is the main thesis. The speakers have the freedom of conversation; no severe rules of art restrict them, and sometimes we are inclined to think, with one of the dramatis personae in the Theaetetus, that the digressions have the greater interest. Yet in the most irregular of the dialogues there is also a certain natural growth or unity; the beginning is not forgotten at the end, and numerous allusions and references are interspersed, which form the loose connecting links of the whole. We must not neglect this unity, but neither must we attempt to confine the Platonic dialogue on the Procrustean bed of a single idea. (Compare Introduction to the Phaedrus.)

Two tendencies seem to have beset the interpreters of Plato in this matter. First, they have endeavoured to hang the dialogues upon one another by the slightest threads; and have thus been led to opposite and contradictory assertions respecting their order and sequence. The mantle of Schleiermacher has descended upon his successors, who have applied his method with the most various results. The value and use of the method has been hardly, if at all, examined either by him or them. Secondly, they have extended almost indefinitely the scope of each separate dialogue; in this way they think that they have escaped all difficulties, not seeing that what they have gained in generality they have lost in truth and distinctness. Metaphysical conceptions easily pass into one another; and the simpler notions of antiquity, which we can only realize by an effort, imperceptibly blend with the more familiar theories of modern philosophers. An eye for proportion is needed (his own art of measuring) in the study of Plato, as well as of other great artists. We may hardly admit that the moral antithesis of good and pleasure, or the intellectual antithesis of knowledge and opinion, being and appearance, are never far off in a Platonic discussion. But because they are in the background, we should not bring them into the foreground, or expect to discern them equally in all the dialogues.

There may be some advantage in drawing out a little the main outlines of the building; but the use of this is limited, and may be easily exaggerated. We may give Plato too much system, and alter the natural form and connection of his thoughts. Under the idea that his dialogues are finished works of art, we may find a reason for everything, and lose the highest characteristic of art, which is simplicity. Most great works receive a new light from a new and original mind. But whether these new lights are true or only suggestive, will depend on their agreement with the spirit of Plato, and the amount of direct evidence which can be urged in support of them. When a theory is running away with us, criticism does a friendly office in counselling moderation, and recalling us to the indications of the text.

Like the Phaedrus, the Gorgias has puzzled students of Plato by the appearance of two or more subjects. Under the cover of rhetoric higher themes are introduced; the argument expands into a general view of the good and evil of man. After making an ineffectual attempt to obtain a sound definition of his art from Gorgias, Socrates assumes the existence of a universal art of flattery or simulation having several branches:—this is the genus of which rhetoric is only one, and not the highest species. To flattery is opposed the true and noble art of life which he who possesses seeks always to impart to others, and which at last triumphs, if not here, at any rate in another world. These two aspects of life and knowledge appear to be the two leading ideas of the dialogue. The true and the false in individuals and states, in the treatment of the soul as well as of the body, are conceived under the forms of true and false art. In the development of this opposition there arise various other questions, such as the two famous paradoxes of Socrates (paradoxes as they are to the world in general, ideals as they may be more worthily called): (1) that to do is worse than to suffer evil; and (2) that when a man has done evil he had better be punished than unpunished; to which may be added (3) a third Socratic paradox or ideal, that bad men do what they think best, but not what they desire, for the desire of all is towards the good. That pleasure is to be distinguished from good is proved by the simultaneousness of pleasure and pain, and by the possibility of the bad having in certain cases pleasures as great as those of the good, or even greater. Not merely rhetoricians, but poets, musicians, and other artists, the whole tribe of statesmen, past as well as present, are included in the class of flatterers. The true and false finally appear before the judgment-seat of the gods below.




My question is, what does this mean?

Firstly I have read only one of the Plato dialogs thus far in my education on Plato's dialogs. In order for me to provide a philosophical response to this I have to read the dialogs mentioned in that article you posted. I will read it over when I have some time later tonight or tomorrow. It is not specifically about the Gorgias so If I reply I would only be using my knowledge of one Dialog of Plato's whereas this article mentions an overall theme found in the "Dialogs." Also just a side note, this question does not follow the guidelines I mentioned however it looks somewhat worth reading. The person that wrote this may not have understood the point of the Dialogs from what I have read so far. I will continue to edit this message as I ease myself into this article. In order to first understand this, you will require a base knowledge of Plato's Dialogs overall. There are three stages of Plato's writing. First comes Plato’s first writing period referred to as the early period / historical where Socratic dialogs end in aporia. The next period of Plato's writings is the middle period. The final period is known as the late period where Gorgias is thought to have been written. I do not have a PhD in Philosophy therefore my knowledge is very limited on this. The reason this is important to note is that in the early period Plato wrote the character Socrates as playing the real historical Socrates; however later in Plato’s writings he implements his own views through the "character" Socrates this is one reason why it is difficult for me to reply philosophically to this article. However I can gather that the article you posted refers to the elenchus method used in Gorgias, and if the author of that article is correct, then I assume that other Dialogs of Plato include the Elenchus method as well; however this is not an accurate response as I have not read any Dialog by Plato other than Gorgias. Some further information that may aid your understanding of that article. In the Gorgias Plato uses Socrates who is the founder of the Socratic Method. A basic break down of Elenchus method is as follows; 1) What is X? 2) Elicit an answer. 3) Get his interlocutor to enter a contradiction. And 4) Urge a return to the inquiry. I will continue editing this response to better inform you.

#8
PHANTASM

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lol that was just the first few paragraphs of the introduction to Plato's Gorgias. I gave up after a few sentences.

Here's more:

GORGIAS
By Plato
Translated by Benjamin Jowett

PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Callicles, Socrates, Chaerephon, Gorgias, Polus.
SCENE: The house of Callicles.
CALLICLES: The wise man, as the proverb says, is late for a fray, but not for a feast.
SOCRATES: And are we late for a feast?
CALLICLES: Yes, and a delightful feast; for Gorgias has just been exhibiting to us many fine things.
SOCRATES: It is not my fault, Callicles; our friend Chaerephon is to blame; for he would keep us loitering in the Agora.
CHAEREPHON: Never mind, Socrates; the misfortune of which I have been the cause I will also repair; for Gorgias is a friend of mine, and I will make him give the exhibition again either now, or, if you prefer, at some other time.
CALLICLES: What is the matter, Chaerephon—does Socrates want to hear Gorgias?
CHAEREPHON: Yes, that was our intention in coming.
CALLICLES: Come into my house, then; for Gorgias is staying with me, and he shall exhibit to you.
SOCRATES: Very good, Callicles; but will he answer our questions? for I want to hear from him what is the nature of his art, and what it is which he professes and teaches; he may, as you (Chaerephon) suggest, defer the exhibition to some other time.
CALLICLES: There is nothing like asking him, Socrates; and indeed to answer questions is a part of his exhibition, for he was saying only just now, that any one in my house might put any question to him, and that he would answer.
SOCRATES: How fortunate! will you ask him, Chaerephon—?
CHAEREPHON: What shall I ask him?
SOCRATES: Ask him who he is.
CHAEREPHON: What do you mean?
SOCRATES: I mean such a question as would elicit from him, if he had been a maker of shoes, the answer that he is a cobbler. Do you understand?
CHAEREPHON: I understand, and will ask him: Tell me, Gorgias, is our friend Callicles right in saying that you undertake to answer any questions which you are asked?
GORGIAS: Quite right, Chaerephon: I was saying as much only just now; and I may add, that many years have elapsed since any one has asked me a new one.
CHAEREPHON: Then you must be very ready, Gorgias.
GORGIAS: Of that, Chaerephon, you can make trial.
POLUS: Yes, indeed, and if you like, Chaerephon, you may make trial of me too, for I think that Gorgias, who has been talking a long time, is tired.
CHAEREPHON: And do you, Polus, think that you can answer better than Gorgias?
POLUS: What does that matter if I answer well enough for you?
CHAEREPHON: Not at all:—and you shall answer if you like.
POLUS: Ask:—
CHAEREPHON: My question is this: If Gorgias had the skill of his brother Herodicus, what ought we to call him? Ought he not to have the name which is given to his brother?
POLUS: Certainly.
CHAEREPHON: Then we should be right in calling him a physician?
POLUS: Yes.
CHAEREPHON: And if he had the skill of Aristophon the son of Aglaophon, or of his brother Polygnotus, what ought we to call him?
POLUS: Clearly, a painter.
CHAEREPHON: But now what shall we call him—what is the art in which he is skilled.
POLUS: O Chaerephon, there are many arts among mankind which are experimental, and have their origin in experience, for experience makes the days of men to proceed according to art, and inexperience according to chance, and different persons in different ways are proficient in different arts, and the best persons in the best arts. And our friend Gorgias is one of the best, and the art in which he is a proficient is the noblest.
SOCRATES: Polus has been taught how to make a capital speech, Gorgias; but he is not fulfilling the promise which he made to Chaerephon.
GORGIAS: What do you mean, Socrates?
SOCRATES: I mean that he has not exactly answered the question which he was asked.
GORGIAS: Then why not ask him yourself?
SOCRATES: But I would much rather ask you, if you are disposed to answer: for I see, from the few words which Polus has uttered, that he has attended more to the art which is called rhetoric than to dialectic.
POLUS: What makes you say so, Socrates?
SOCRATES: Because, Polus, when Chaerephon asked you what was the art which Gorgias knows, you praised it as if you were answering some one who found fault with it, but you never said what the art was.
POLUS: Why, did I not say that it was the noblest of arts?
SOCRATES: Yes, indeed, but that was no answer to the question: nobody asked what was the quality, but what was the nature, of the art, and by what name we were to describe Gorgias. And I would still beg you briefly and clearly, as you answered Chaerephon when he asked you at first, to say what this art is, and what we ought to call Gorgias: Or rather, Gorgias, let me turn to you, and ask the same question,—what are we to call you, and what is the art which you profess?
GORGIAS: Rhetoric, Socrates, is my art.
SOCRATES: Then I am to call you a rhetorician?
GORGIAS: Yes, Socrates, and a good one too, if you would call me that which, in Homeric language, 'I boast myself to be.'
SOCRATES: I should wish to do so.
GORGIAS: Then pray do.

#9
Methuselah

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lol that was just the first few paragraphs of the introduction to Plato's Gorgias. I gave up after a few sentences.

Here's more:

GORGIAS
By Plato
Translated by Benjamin Jowett

PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Callicles, Socrates, Chaerephon, Gorgias, Polus.
SCENE: The house of Callicles.
CALLICLES: The wise man, as the proverb says, is late for a fray, but not for a feast.
SOCRATES: And are we late for a feast?
CALLICLES: Yes, and a delightful feast; for Gorgias has just been exhibiting to us many fine things.
SOCRATES: It is not my fault, Callicles; our friend Chaerephon is to blame; for he would keep us loitering in the Agora.
CHAEREPHON: Never mind, Socrates; the misfortune of which I have been the cause I will also repair; for Gorgias is a friend of mine, and I will make him give the exhibition again either now, or, if you prefer, at some other time.
CALLICLES: What is the matter, Chaerephon—does Socrates want to hear Gorgias?
CHAEREPHON: Yes, that was our intention in coming.
CALLICLES: Come into my house, then; for Gorgias is staying with me, and he shall exhibit to you.
SOCRATES: Very good, Callicles; but will he answer our questions? for I want to hear from him what is the nature of his art, and what it is which he professes and teaches; he may, as you (Chaerephon) suggest, defer the exhibition to some other time.
CALLICLES: There is nothing like asking him, Socrates; and indeed to answer questions is a part of his exhibition, for he was saying only just now, that any one in my house might put any question to him, and that he would answer.
SOCRATES: How fortunate! will you ask him, Chaerephon—?
CHAEREPHON: What shall I ask him?
SOCRATES: Ask him who he is.
CHAEREPHON: What do you mean?
SOCRATES: I mean such a question as would elicit from him, if he had been a maker of shoes, the answer that he is a cobbler. Do you understand?
CHAEREPHON: I understand, and will ask him: Tell me, Gorgias, is our friend Callicles right in saying that you undertake to answer any questions which you are asked?
GORGIAS: Quite right, Chaerephon: I was saying as much only just now; and I may add, that many years have elapsed since any one has asked me a new one.
CHAEREPHON: Then you must be very ready, Gorgias.
GORGIAS: Of that, Chaerephon, you can make trial.
POLUS: Yes, indeed, and if you like, Chaerephon, you may make trial of me too, for I think that Gorgias, who has been talking a long time, is tired.
CHAEREPHON: And do you, Polus, think that you can answer better than Gorgias?
POLUS: What does that matter if I answer well enough for you?
CHAEREPHON: Not at all:—and you shall answer if you like.
POLUS: Ask:—
CHAEREPHON: My question is this: If Gorgias had the skill of his brother Herodicus, what ought we to call him? Ought he not to have the name which is given to his brother?
POLUS: Certainly.
CHAEREPHON: Then we should be right in calling him a physician?
POLUS: Yes.
CHAEREPHON: And if he had the skill of Aristophon the son of Aglaophon, or of his brother Polygnotus, what ought we to call him?
POLUS: Clearly, a painter.
CHAEREPHON: But now what shall we call him—what is the art in which he is skilled.
POLUS: O Chaerephon, there are many arts among mankind which are experimental, and have their origin in experience, for experience makes the days of men to proceed according to art, and inexperience according to chance, and different persons in different ways are proficient in different arts, and the best persons in the best arts. And our friend Gorgias is one of the best, and the art in which he is a proficient is the noblest.
SOCRATES: Polus has been taught how to make a capital speech, Gorgias; but he is not fulfilling the promise which he made to Chaerephon.
GORGIAS: What do you mean, Socrates?
SOCRATES: I mean that he has not exactly answered the question which he was asked.
GORGIAS: Then why not ask him yourself?
SOCRATES: But I would much rather ask you, if you are disposed to answer: for I see, from the few words which Polus has uttered, that he has attended more to the art which is called rhetoric than to dialectic.
POLUS: What makes you say so, Socrates?
SOCRATES: Because, Polus, when Chaerephon asked you what was the art which Gorgias knows, you praised it as if you were answering some one who found fault with it, but you never said what the art was.
POLUS: Why, did I not say that it was the noblest of arts?
SOCRATES: Yes, indeed, but that was no answer to the question: nobody asked what was the quality, but what was the nature, of the art, and by what name we were to describe Gorgias. And I would still beg you briefly and clearly, as you answered Chaerephon when he asked you at first, to say what this art is, and what we ought to call Gorgias: Or rather, Gorgias, let me turn to you, and ask the same question,—what are we to call you, and what is the art which you profess?
GORGIAS: Rhetoric, Socrates, is my art.
SOCRATES: Then I am to call you a rhetorician?
GORGIAS: Yes, Socrates, and a good one too, if you would call me that which, in Homeric language, 'I boast myself to be.'
SOCRATES: I should wish to do so.
GORGIAS: Then pray do.

I have the entire Gorgias Dialog in front of me, However If you have a specific question about Gorgias I assure you I will be able to answer it philosophically and not oratorically.

#10
PHANTASM

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I don't even know what they are talking about honestly I'm stumped by the whole thing, It's completely out of my element. I studied computers and science in college. I took World Literature and read Agamemnon and part of the Iliad, that's all I know really and that was twenty years ago lol.

What kind of questions are you anticipating Methusaleh?

#11
Methuselah

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I don't even know what they are talking about honestly I'm stumped by the whole thing, It's completely out of my element. I studied computers and science in college. I took World Literature and read Agamemnon and part of the Iliad, that's all I know really and that was twenty years ago lol.

What kind of questions are you anticipating Methusaleh?


Well If I told you that, variety and surprise may be diminished. However I can PM you some of my thoughts if you would like some time this week.

#12
aarop2

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my brother was a philosophy MAJOR

#13
Methuselah

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my brother was a philosophy MAJOR

very nice, If he uses this forum I wonder if he and I would be able to discuss things I have trouble understanding in philosophy. Please let me know if that looks possible.

#14
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very nice, If he uses this forum I wonder if he and I would be able to discuss things I have trouble understanding in philosophy. Please let me know if that looks possible.

no he doesnt look at forums but i could relay some of your questions

#15
Methuselah

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no he doesnt look at forums but i could relay some of your questions

That would be very considerate of you. Does your brother have knowledge on the nicomachean ethics by Aristotle, it is ethics philosophy.




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