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The Daily Logos VII

“Polus: Don’t you think you’ve been refuted already, Socrates, when you’re saying things the likes of which no human being would maintain?  Just ask any one of these people.

“Socrates: Polus, I’m not one of the politicians.  Last year I was elected to the Council by lot, and when our tribe was presiding and I had to call for a vote, I came in for a laugh.  I didn’t know how to do it.  So please don’t tell me to call for a vote from the people present here.  If you have no better ‘refutations’ than these to offer, do as I suggested just now: let me have my turn, and you try the kind of refutation I think is called for.  For I do know how to produce one witness to whatever I’m saying, and that’s the man I’m having a discussion with.  The majority I disregard.  And I do know how to call for a vote from one man, but I don’t even discuss things with the majority.  See if you’ll be willing to give me a refutation, then, by answering the questions you’re asked.  For I do believe that you and I and everybody else consider doing what’s unjust worse than suffering it, and not paying what is due worse than paying it.”

-Plato, Gorgias

Who does not love a dialogue?  Indeed, what Socrates says here is very dialogical; rather than relying upon rhetoric or the opinion of the majority in order to persuade the opposition, for such a persuasion, such a proof, such a refutation of the opposing opinion is not real.  The inward conviction of a man cannot be demolished, formed, or re-formed by the sweeping movements of opinion, but only when he accepts the articulated truth for what it is.

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