Stephanus # Event Comments Callicles Chaerephone Socrates Gorgias Polus
447a Callicles says to Socrates that "this is  how you should take part in warfare and battle." Perhaps he was a Pan-Hellenist?          
447b When Callicles offers to talk Gorgias into another display, Socrates deflects this by asking if Gorgias would be willing to converse with them.            
447d Socrates tells Chaerephon to ask Gorgias who he is. This question is probably two fold. First, to get to the essence of rhetoric and, second, to bring up the question of self identify. Gorgias took the relativism of the other sophists to the point of complete nihilism and solipsism. If nothing exists and words have no true meaning, then how can Gorgias make claim to creating knowledge from nothing?          
448 a - c Polus gives an encomium on Gorgias but does not answer what art Gorgias teaches. He says that Gorgias deals with the noblest of arts.  Why doesn't Socrates define art?          
449a Gorgias tells Socrates that he is a rhetorician            
449d By Hera, Gorgias, I marvel at your answers; they could not be briefer. This made me laugh out loud.

Hera was one of the goddesses who appeared to Paris to ask which of them was the most beautiful. The story is that Eris [ee-riss] had toss an apple into the midst of a party on Mt. Olympid, saying it was for the most beautiful. The 3 goddesses, Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena each thought the apple was theirs. They asked Zeus to settle the issue. He was no fool and suggested they ask a mortal. The descended and asked Paris.  They each tried to bribe Paris, offering a gift. Aphrodite offered Helen of Troy and the rest is history...I mean myth.
         
450 Socrates argues that when a man studies to become an expert at his profession, it gives him the ability to talk about his profession. Doctors know how to speak about surgery and medicine due to their training.  Gorgias would later show that even though the doctor could talk about medicine, he could not persuade his patient to undergo surgery. This is where Gorgias' art steps in.          
450c-d Socrates points out that that some professions can be done in silence like painting, while others require action like math. He then gets Gorgias to agree that rhetoric has nothing to do with arts that can occur in silence. Why didn't Gorgias stop him and say, "But if you wanted to convince a buyer of the virtues of the painting, then rhetoric would be involved." ?          
451d After Socrates goes on and on about words and professions and repeatedly asking Gorgias to clarify, Gorgias answers that rhetoric is "The greatest and noblest of human affairs." This seems like a really frustrating answer.  Socrates answers back that health, beauty, and wealth obtained without dishonesty (451 d) are the noblest           
452 c - d Socrates points out that men of other professions would take offence that Gorgias' art produces greater blessing than their art.            
452e Finally, Gorgias says that it's the power to convince by words.            
453a Socrates acknowledges that persuasion is the chief purpose of rhetoric and gets Gorgias to agree. This is fatal to Gorgias' case. He should have argued that there is value in moving the will with speech. That speech can be used for more than transmitting knowledge.          
453d Mentions Zeuxis [zook-sis] Athenian painter famous for using shade          
454a Socrates establishes that rhetoric is not the only creator of persuasion. Math, for example, persuades.            
454a Socrates points out that since other arts persuade without using rhetoric, then there must be different kinds of persuasion. What type is rhetoric?            
454b Gorgias answers that it is the type used in the law courts. Gorgias is famous for defining items by example. This is what Meno did when Socrates asked him to define virtue. Socrates was looking for a definition that every instance of rhetoric has, and only instances of rhetoric has. He's trying to unify the definition. Gorgias resists this because his relativistic views make him want to find plurality in all his definitions. However, his relativism will eventually allow him to agree with Socrates because it doesn't matter- everything is relative and nothing is real.          
454d Socrates asks if knowledge and belief are the same or different.  You know that Socrates knew how he would answer. Socrates is setting him up to show him that relativism is bunk.          
454d Socrates asks if there can be both false and true knowledge.  This is key to Socrates strategy. Answering "no", which Gorgias does, refutes relativism.          
454e Socrates gets Gorgias to admit that there are two types of persuasion: one to create belief and one to create knowledge.            
455a Socrates gets Gorgias to admit that rhetoric produces belief in courts of law - not knowledge.            
455b Socrates lapses into a speech Socrates basically says that when we need knowledge, we go to experts in that art- not to a rhetorician.          
456b The example of his brother, the doctor            
456e Gorgias says that if a pupil uses his skill for evil (boxer, soldier), it is not the fault of the teacher.            
459b Socrates shows that the rhetorician is ignorant of the topic about which he persuades, yet he is able to persuade the ignorant. It's the ignorant persuading the ignorant. What Socrates does not follow is that, though the rhetorician performs well when ignorant, he would perform even better with knowledge.          
461a Socrates points out that if a sophist teaches justice then his students should never commit acts of injustice. He then makes the point that Gorgias has contradicted himself saying that the teacher was not responsible for the student's actions.            
461b Polus interrupts and wants to make a speech. Socrates talks him into engaging in the dialectic.            
462b Socrates tells Polus that he doesn't think rhetoric is an art.            
462e Socrates tells Polus that Cookery is not an art but a knack or routine.            
463b Socrates tells Gorgias that he thinks rhetoric is not an art but it's flattery. Plato contrasts the true art of justice with rhetoric. Plato calls rhetoric the counterfeit art of Justice, like putting on makeup is the counterfeit art to physical fitness (which he calls gymnastics).

Maintenance arts for the body: Gymnastics (Physical fitness) - counterfeit = Makeup
Restoration art for the body:
Medicine - counterfeit = cookery (mom's chicken soup cures)

Maintenance art for the soul:
Legislation with a knowledge of virtue and vice - Counterfeit = sophistic (long speeches)
Restoration art for the soul:
Justice (teaching true knowledge of virtue) - counterfeit = rhetoric
James Herrick        
    Socrates accuses rhetoric of being like the spurious art, aim for pleasure, ignoring the good.          
464b  Socrates starts a long speech When dialectic breaks down, the result is long speech- In other words, the counterfeit to  legislation.          
465a Socrates tells Polus that Polus rhetoric aims at pleasure, ignoring the good.            
465c Socrates says, "I will now express myself in the language of geometricians." I once heard professor Michael Segrue, who taught at Princeton at the time, say, "Any time Socrates starts talking about math, it's like a boxer putting a horseshoe in his glove- Somebody's going to get knocked out!"          
  Comments            
    Socrates gives no solution to addressing the masses, and seem to ignore the benefits that rhetoric can have to persuade toward a good idea          
    Plato thinks that education is the duty of leaders (like Gorgias and Pericles). If only they would have educated the people, we would not have lost the Peloponnesian War (431 - 404 BCE). He wanted a philosopher king.          
    Socrates acknowledges that teaching virtue and true knowledge take a great deal of time and education. In writing the Laws at the end of his life, it's like he is saying, Okay, maybe even a lifetime is not enough time to teach the masses. We must have Laws and rhetoric.          
               
    Socrates claimed that rhetoric was not an art because the practitioner of the art would be the best to speak of his art because he was the expert.  Gorgias counter about the doctor was an adequate answer.           
               
    I think the biggest drawback of Socrates interpretation is that he doesn't acknowledge the possibility of someone using well- structured knowledge to persuade. They may not be the expert, but they have studied enough to give educated argument.          
    For example, I may not be a doctor, but I could give a persuasive speech on the dangers of smoking.