This study explores the first debates around the concept of rhetoric in ancient Greece and links them to contemporary thought. In On What Is Not and Encomium of Helen Gorgias suggested the terrifying and exhilarating possibility that persuasion is nothing but power, and that no human contact is innocent of its manipulative presence. This understanding of rhetoric is subsequently taken up and attacked by Plato and Socrates in their discussions of Gorgias. Robert Wardy reads these texts and later ones in a sophisticated and philosophic yet very lucid manner.
Examines Gorgias' and to illuminate his idea of rhetoric, that of persuasive speech as the exercise of power. Also presents Plato's response in his , contending that these two thinkers laid the foundation for all future debate on the idea of rhetoric. Later responses to the debate as defined by them, including Aristotle's and Aristedes' , are also discussed. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.