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10GorgiasLec3v2 - TRAD 104 Socrates and Polus on Rhetoric's...

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TRAD 104 Socrates and Polus on Rhetoric's Power and the Agent's Good (Gorgias 466-468) I. Are Rhetoricians Powerful? A. Polus: Rhetoricians, like dictators, are the most powerful members of their communities, because they have the ability to "execute anyone they want" and "to confiscate a person's property and then banish that person from their communities if it seems best" (466b-c). B. Socrates: On the condition that power is an unqualified good for its possessor (something Polus assumes), the ability to do these three things does not amount to having great power; indeed, because the rhetoricians "almost never do what they want, rather than what they think is best," they are the least powerful in their communities. II. Socrates' First Objection and Polus's Response A. Being able to do what you think is best doesn't necessarily make you powerful. (466e- 467a) 1. Power is a good thing for its possessor. (466b; 466e) 2. Doing what one thinks is best without intelligence is not good for an agent.
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