Socratic Dialectic between Philosophy and Politics in Euthydemus 305e5-306d1

  • Carrie Swanson
Keywords: Euthydemus, partaking argument, rhetoric, sophistry


In the final scene of the Euthydemus, Socrates argues that because the art of speechwriting merely partakes of the two good arts philosophy and politics, it places third in the contest for wisdom. I argue that this curious speech is a reverse eikos argument, directed at the speechwriters own eikos argument for the preeminence of their art. A careful analysis of the partaking relation reveals that it is rather Socratic dialectic which occupies this intermediate position between philosophy and politics. This result entails that Socrates’ peculiar art is only a part of philosophy, and its practitioner only partially wise.


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