What claims (if any) to ignorance does Socrates make as regards himself? He emphasizes both his individual and an overall human lack of knowledge to a far greater extent in other dialogues. Why might such a focus here be absent?
How does Socrates distinguish true arts from false ones (routine, flattery)? What makes something an art?
Various opinions exist concerning what is the main topic of Gorgias: rhetoric, politics, justice, etc. Is there one underlying focus of the dialogue? If so, then what is it? Please explain your answer.
Suggested Essay Topics
Why does Socrates deny rhetoric as an art? Do you find his argument convincing? Why or why not?
In his discussion of rhetoric, Socrates attacks the knowledge of the masses, declaring crowds to be ignorant and foolish. How does his attack on rhetoric depend upon this position? To what extent may the group be trusted?
Immediately prior to 467e, Socrates states "[i]f a man acts with some purpose, he does not will the act, but the purpose of the act." What does he mean by this? Do you agree? Explain.
Socrates argues the tyrant has no power. How does he formulate this position? Is it a logical construction, or merely an opinion derived from belief? Does this render the claim more or less convincing? Please explain.
Why is it worse to commit rather than suffer wrong or evil? Why might it be worse still if the evil goes unpunished? Does Socrates construct a strong case for this contention?
Socrates employs the metaphor of a leaky jar in order to describe a person who does not strive to discipline his/her desires. Do you find this imagery convincing? Why or why not? How does he relate this to his larger claim about temperance as a crucial aspect of proper living? Do you agree with him?
How does the pleasant differ from the good?
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