CriticaLink | Plato: Phaedrus | Terms


In the Greek legal system, plaintiffs and defendants had to make their own cases before the court, without attorneys to represent them. Advancement in politics was also tied to effective public speaking. Logographers were writers skilled in rhetoric who took advantage of this market for persuasive speeches. In Plato's dialogues, Socrates is typically critical of these speech-writers-for-hire, as he is in the Phaedrus, the Gorgias, and the Sophist. Socrates's challenge to the logographers, as well as to the sophists who frequently included rhetoric among the skills they claimed to be able to teach, is that they have no commitment to the truth and are concerned solely with persuasion (and their own profit).