Plato's chief argument against rhetoric is epistemological. Plato claims that rhetoric accomplishes what it does on the basis of experience, not knowledge. In this article I examine Plato's criticisms of rhetoric in the Gorgias and the Phaedrus. I argue that Plato is right to identify rhetoric's empirical basis, but that having this epistemic basis does not constitute an argument against rhetoric. On the contrary, Plato's criticism of rhetoric serves to give us an epistemological explanation of rhetoric's success.
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