Perspectivism and the philosophical rhetoric of the dialogue form

  • Marina McCoy
Keywords: Plato, dialogue, rhetoric, mimesis, irony, self-knowledge, perspectivism, image


In this paper, I support the perspectivist reading of the Platonic dialogues. The dialogues assert an objective truth toward which we are meant to strive, and yet acknowledge that we as seekers of this truth are always partial in what we grasp of its nature. They are written in a way to encourage the development of philosophical practice in their readers, where “philosophical” means not only having an epistemic state in between the total possession of truth and its absence, but also growing in selfknowledge as being that kind of a being. I take up three particular qualities of the dialogue: they are multilayered, multivocal, and mimetic. Devices such as Platonic irony, multiple characters’ voices, and a reformulated notion of mimesis that encourages the development of rationality and autonomy are central to Platonic rhetoric and philosophy.


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