Rhetoric Is Like Medicine Analysis

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Meghan Molloy February 2015 Dr. Edgar Writing Seminar 105: Philosophy of Love Rhetoric is like Medicine Rhetoric can be defined as the art or study of using “language effectively and persuasively.” Furthermore, true rhetoric is the art of leading and directing the soul and is grounded in philosophy. Within Phaedrus, Socrates refers to the potential for “good rhetoric”. Socrates questions whether good rhetoric and speech addresses the truth of the issue at hand. Contrastingly, “good rhetoric” and speech could simply be an illusion, the act of persuasion could be more important than truth. Socrates claims “rhetoric is like medicine.” (Phaedrus 270b), Socrates believes that rhetoric is like medicine because while…show more content…
Rhetoric is an art that only a sophist knows how to achieve successfully. A sophist mastered the art of grasping the truth and is able to analyze it. The aforementioned quote of Socrates explaining what type of appeal and emotion to use in an argument further highlights this art; the sophist has to use what he/she learned. Similarly, medicine aims to guide and nurse a body back to health. The sole purpose of medicine is to fix whatever is not functioning successfully. However, this is an art that only a trained physician and doctor has mastered. Therefore, due to the aforementioned comparison, it can be argued that rhetoric is like medicine. To provide a counter example, it can be argued that rhetoric is not like medicine. For example, some medicine works for some people biologically while it does not for others. Similarly, “one soul is persuaded by a particular form of argument, and another not.” (Phaedrus, 271c) Essentially, rhetoric and medicine, both forms of art, require a specific set of skills and a certain degree of professionalism in order to execute the art form…show more content…
Therefore, the sophists must learn mass amounts of information regarding the human soul, different types of rhetoric, among many things. This information is based down from student to teacher. Similarly, medicine is based on a breadth of knowledge and information. This is learned from higher education and practice within the field. Consequently, doctors must be aware of the nature of various kinds of soul and which sorts of treatment and cures would work to which sorts of

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