Historical Rhetorics/A Little Aristotle and the Other Socrates/Isocrates' ''Antidosis''



Note how Isocrates opens his Antidosis distinguishing himself from the Socrates of Plato's Apology and Gorgias (p. 189). Isocrates falls back on no existence independent of the people, culture, and history around him (unlike Socrates' transcendental court).

Poetic Style

On the value of poetic style, what Isocrates refers to as his "philosophy": 213. On the value of praising the past: 221; also 283, why we need to keep telling stories of ourselves, because Athens is so vast, and misrepresentation so easy. On the value of Hellenistic learning (vs. instrumental learning) 229.

On Paideia and PanHellenism (the need for Oratory)

Men of wisdom and a concern for Hellas: 229.

Isocrates' depiction of Socrates' critical insistence: 221. For Isocrates' differentiating himself from Plato etc, 232-233.

For what it means to be wise ("courting the favor of men"), to have judgment, to act ethically in accordance with Isocrates' teaching, 259-263. The need for a leader to learn to "feed the beast," as Socrates might say: 261.

Practice and study of oratory brings peace and tranquility, 271.

Why do we study oratory? Because "it is the source of most of our blessings" (327). [NOTE: Look here for Isocrates' most comprehensive definition of rhetoric]. Advantage and the "end" of rhetoric, 337-343. A dedication to the common good (339).

Page 337 leads us to a notion of "advantage," for an explication of this term, see "On the Peace," sections 28-35. Basically, Isocrates is laying down a foundation for what we might call a laissez-faire morality, one in which every citizens seeks to live virtuously, to work to improve their own security and the health of their city. While the base seize the advantage for mere personal gain, or use the tools of oratory to trick others into giving them what they don't deserve, the good seize the advantage and use oratory in order to strengthen themselves and their city.

Advantage as "The ability to govern both ourselves and the commonwealth" (343) by transforming *my thought* into *our course of action.*

Rhetoric as a form of ethical choice-training, 335 (compare to Vitanza, NSHoR 153).

Teaching Oratory

On the mind/body split underlying the righteousness of discourse, 289.

Teaching forms of discourse, 289-291.

Opposition to Socrates

Returning to the question of who can learn from Against the Sophists, 291. On his opposition to disputation as a career (but not as an exercise), 331-333. See 333-335 for his scathing critique of metaphysics.

For an almost direct response to Socrates' condemnation of politics in the Apology and of rhetoric in the Gorgias, see 323.

Another return to the critique of the sophist in Against the Sophists (esp, the extent of their claims to teach all comers, 337).