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date: 19 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Rhetoric as a practice is associated throughout the Platonic corpus with the sophists and is opposed to philosophy defined as the pursuit of truth. Jacques Derrida, in his deconstructive reading of the opposition between speech and writing in the Phaedrus, demonstrates that Plato himself deconstructs the opposition between rhetoric and philosophy through the deployment of philosophy’s initial, constitutive trope, Socratic irony, as figured by the duplicitous pharmakon. The result of this deconstruction is that rather than philosophy and sophistry being mutually exclusive alternatives, each becomes a moment within the other that can never be fully sublimated.

Keywords: rhetoric, deconstruction, irony, philosophy, sophists, Plato, pharmakon, Phaedrus, speech, writing

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