Arguing for the immortality of the soul in the palinode of the Phaedrus

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Abstract

This article argues that in his second speech of the Phaedrus (the "palinode"), Socrates gives an intentionally fallacious argument. He gives this argument, starting "all/every soul is immortal" (245c6-246a2), to show his speech-loving friend Phaedrus how-rather than simply to tell him that-analytic as much as imagistic speech can persuade without deserving conviction. This argument joins four others that recent Phaedrus scholarship has shown to be deliberately misconstructed. The entire dialogue has Socrates demonstrating to Phaedrus that the proper attitude to speech is active and critical scrutiny. "Philosophy"-toward which Socrates wants to turn Phaedrus-is not the rhetorical mode "speaking in sequential inferences" but is instead a kind of shared listening and conversation, an association committed to "making a person most thoughtful." Yet inducting someone into philosophy still depends on some rhetorical mode: the kind that reveals a person's need for a commitment to investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-208
Number of pages30
JournalPhilosophy and Rhetoric
Volume47
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy

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