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date: 22 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that “rhetoric”—a term probably coined by Plato—is a philosophical invention and an attempt to tame logos, in particular the sophist’s logos and its effects. Beginning with Plato’s Gorgias, ontology invented rhetoric to domesticate—to spatialize—time in discourse. The invention of rhetoric by philosophy is thus the first “rhetorical turn”: the first rhetorical turn is in fact a philosophical turn. Ranging across works of Plato, the sophists, and Philostratus, the chapter argues that if there is a sophistic particularity of rhetoric, a strictly sophistical inventio of rhetoric and within rhetoric, it would entail identifying something like a rhetoric of time, which would be to rhetorics of space as sophistic discursivity is to Platonico-Aristotelian ontology.

Keywords: rhetoric, sophists, philosophical invention, logos, ontology, rhetoric of time, rhetorics of space, Plato, Philostratus, rhetorical turn

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