The relationship between truth, argument, rhetoric, and persuasion

In our first class, Dr. MmCc introduced the question of whether there is a relationship between truth and argument. This brings us to the deeper parallels of the relationship between rhetoric and persuasion. After much thought, I feel that there is an inherent correlation between all four elements. In order to formulate a well thought argument, there needs to be truth, powerful rhetoric, and ultimately, persuasion to appeal to your opposition.


After reading chapters 2 and 3 of the textbook, I was able to connect the information to what I have learned from previous classes. In particular, I studied and read Plato’s “Republic”, in which I learned of his battles with the Sophists of Athens. Plato recognizes that many of the Sophists, who are supposed to be enriching the masses, are in fact just telling them what they would like to hear in order to gain popularity. However, because these Sophists are seen as credible figures, whatever they say is deemed truthful. Plato feels that the Sophists are acting as if they are philosophers, but they do not understand the true knowledge that comes with being a philosopher. In order to be a true philosopher, Plato argues that it is imperative to understand the difference between essence and appearance. Once you access essence, you are able to fully understand knowledge, and be able to teach and inform the masses.


In regards to our class, Plato would be a good person to base our beliefs on to answer our question of whether there is a relationship between truth, argument, rhetoric, and persuasion. If you were to follow Plato’s school of thought, you would know that your argument would be invalid without the essence of knowledge with truth. I feel that people understand this in part, however, especially in today’s world with access to all sorts of information, it is easy to find skewed information. It is easily accessible to find websites now with information that present only one side of the story with complete disregard for the other. One obvious example would be with politics. Especially with it being an election year, I saw first hand how people would just find websites backing up claims without any real validation behind such sites and claims.


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