Gorgias' 8 Arguments in Plato's 'Gorgias' Essay

Submitted By Instantacious_Parado
Words: 791
Pages: 4

Arguments in Gorgias
1. Might equals Right - Callicles
Callicles sides with natural law and claims that in nature, superior/better/stronger individuals should have a greater share than the masses, and rule over them. However in convention, Callicles believes that rules are created by the masses who are weak and unable to dominate themselves. These rules are created to supress the strong who should dominate over everybody else. The unstated premise in this case, is that natural order is more "right" than social convention meaning the stronger have a natural right to a greater share. (Jynx, Brandon and Jacinta)
2. Cowards experience more pleasure – Socrates
Despite the fact that the coward is considered the worst person, he can still experience just as much pleasure as the good person. Socrates proves this through his analogy of war where if the enemy is retreating it would be the cowards who would experience marginally more pleasure than the brave. If the enemy was advancing, both cowards and the brave would be upset, however, the cowards would be mildly more upset than the brave. This proves that a coward who is considered ‘bad’ can experience as much pleasure as a ‘hero’ who is brave. Therefore, pleasure cannot equal good. (Shamara and Roxi)
3. Reductio that expertise warrants more of everything – Socrates
Socrates reduces Callicles’ claim to the absurd by saying if experts should be rewarded with more of everything that this should apply to their specific field to which they are dedicated. Doctors should get more food and drink, weavers should be entitled to more coats, cobblers should have more shoes, and farmers should have more grain than everyone else. Callicles’ responds by claiming he means only the clever and the brave. (Cassie and Rashmika)
4. Reductio that the best way to harm one’s enemies is to ensure their escape – Socrates
P1 – Bad people are the equivalent of being sick
P2 – To go to court or gaol is the equivalent of medicine and getting better
P3 – The best way to hurt a patient is to not treat them
C – The best way to harm one’s enemy is to ensure their escape.
This argument undermines the value of rhetoric. Rhetoric is supposed to come in handy when trying to persuade a court that a family or friend should not go to gaol. Thus, being used for good. Rhetoric is best applicable in this situation but to use it in order to help an enemy would be absurd.
(Michelle and Kevin)
5. To wrong is worse than to be wronged – Socrates
Socrates states that doing wrong is more contemptible than being wronged. For something to be more contemptible, it must either be more unpleasant or more harmful. Seeing as it is not more unpleasant, it must be more harmful. For doing wrong to exceed being wronged in harmfulness it must be worse. To be brought to justice is to have an admirable act done to you and will free you of an immoral state of mind. (Mikaela and Luke)