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Binghamton University

Kinesis

1993

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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Deception In Aristotle's Rhetoric: How To Tell The Rhetorician From The Sophist, And Which One To Bet On, Eugene Garver Dec 1993

Deception In Aristotle's Rhetoric: How To Tell The Rhetorician From The Sophist, And Which One To Bet On, Eugene Garver

The Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy Newsletter

Aristotle has a simple answer to questions about the morality of rhetoric: he distinguishes the rhetorician and the sophist. What sets the sophist apart from the rhetorician is "not the faculty (dynamis) but the moral purpose (prohairesis)" (I1.1355M7; see de Soph Elen 1.165a30). Keep straight the difference between sophist and rhetorician and all moral problems will evaporate. He certainly doesn't think telling them apart needs great philosophical development or exquisite ethical judgment. Distinguishing them requires neither phronesis nor familiarity with the Rhetoric. He gives his distinction all the explanation he thinks it needs by saying:

In rhetoric ...