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Two Types of Power in Plato's "Gorgias" Author(s): James C. Haden Reviewed work(s): Source: The Classical Journal, Vol.

87, No. 4 (Apr. - May, 1992), pp. 313-326 Published by: The Classical Association of the Middle West and South Stable URL: . Accessed: 16/10/2012 14:39
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OF IN GORGIAS TWOTYPES POWER PLATO'S According to its traditional subtitle, the Gorgiasis about rhetoric. E. R. Dodds, however, sees its centraltheme as "themoralbasis of politics,"and holds that the discussion of rhetoricis entwined with virtuallydismisses rhetoquestions of eudaimonia.1Paul Friedlander ric, and believes that there are two levels to the discussion-that of moral principles and that of different ways of life;2 in a rather cryptic aside he remarks that war and battle is also a theme. I propose that the central theme, linking all the others, is that of power. Since "power"and cognate words such as "strength"and "force"stud the dialogue, this is hardlya discovery. Butthereare two specific and contrasting types of power which need to be illuminated and distinguished to grasp the dialogue fully. Since this is a matter of interpretation, the first step has to be to make explicit what hermeneuticalprinciples are to be used. The basic one is the assumption that Plato actually wrote as the artist he is so often claimed to be. It follows that we are entitled to take cues from techniques more often found in literary criticism than in philosophical analysis. If we assume that Plato, like any superb writer, took great pains with what he included in the dialogue and with the precise way he expressed himself, it seems reasonable that to understand exactly what he was trying to say we absolutely must give our maximum attention to every detail of a dialogue in the hope of insight. We cannot afford to push aside anythingon the grounds that it is merely "literary"-i.e. ornamental-and not "philosophical."That is a modern distinction, stemming from a post-Platonic view of what philosophy is; for Plato there is no chasm between the two.3 The

Gorgias: 2 Plato2: 1964) 266.


TextWithCommentary A Revised (Oxford1959) 1-2. TheDialogues.First Period. Trans. Hans Meyerhoff (London

the polis, but at the same time he uses techniqueslike the myth of Erand the parableof the Cave for philosophicalpurposes. Above all, he chose to couch his ideas in the dramaticform of dialogues. 313-326 The Classical 87.4 Journal (1992)

mostpoetryfrom Platosuggests 3 It is truethatin theRepublic banishing



spirit of the inquiry here, then, is well put by Ann Lebeck, when she says, speaking of the Oresteia: Close analysis of language and imagery combined with analysis of the ideas involved yields the most farreaching interpretation.Such an interpretationgoes beyond what is stated directly and elicits meaning from every mode of expressionemployed by the poet.4 Therefore, taking Plato as artist-philosopher with the utmost seriousness, I assume that it was entirely natural for him as a master writer to convey meaning by literaryimages, whether consciously or unconsciously. This is a more controversialworking assumption, and even less customary among philosophers than the assumption of the total significance of the dialogues, though discussion of imagery is taken for grantedin criticalexaminationof, say, the tragic dramatists of the fifth century, as the reference to Lebeck makes plain. So it is worthwhile spelling out in more detail what is meant.5 First,it is importantto see that an image in this sense differs from the et&0)ov which Plato condemnedas the shadow of a shadow-the lowest segment of the Divided Line. Here "image" stands for a specific and concrete but still partially generalized idea, something between the data of perception and concepts of abstraction. Thanks to its concreteness it can be named and described, and hence the language of a text can express it directly and indirectly with a vast range of shades. A poetic passage can abound in
and Structure(Washington, D.C. 4 The Oresteia:A Study in Language 1971) 1. 5 "Image"is a term often used fairlyloosely. G. E. R. Lloyd, in a book and Two containingmanyinterestingand useful things(Polarity Analogy: Types in EarlyGreek 19661),employs it conThought [Cambridge of Argumentation stantly but never clarifies what precisely he means by it, sometimes connecting it with analogy, sometimes with metaphor. His approach is primarilylogical, and hence he seems to use the termbroadly for any sort of concretepictorialthought. Sleep, for example,can be personifiedas the "alltamer,"or described as "pouredover" or "wrappedround" someone (202). He does grant that concreteimages can and do express thought (211),and in earlyGreekthinkingwere a way of apprehendingphenomena(207). Not until Plato is a conscious distinction drawn between images and demonstration (229-300). Possession of the distinction does not imply that both ways of showing cannot be used, of course.



words suggesting an image, and can thus convey a context for the overt details of the poem, as there are referencesto nets and snares in which quietly reinforcethe audience's grasp Aeschylus's Agamemnon of the plays action. Second, the explicit concept of a literary image as an artistic device belongs, of course, to modern literary criticism; we cannot know whether or not Plato used it consciously, although he may have. But its poetic use as distinct from its critical function need not be explicitly conscious, since it is a technique which arises spontaneously in a host of specific forms such as simile, metaphor, and trope,partand parcelof the whole symboliccapacity of language. Lebeck points out that in the Oresteiathe images, such as nets and snares, recur in such a way that "each recurrenceadds a new Often this element to those with which it is associated. will blend two images previously separate...." Images expansion are introduced proleptically, where the "word 'prolepsis' ... denotes a brief initial statementof several majorthemes en bloc.... Significanceincreaseswith repetition:the image gains in clarityas the must view these recurrent action moves to a climax."6The interpreter images both in their immediate context and, more importantly, as bearers of meaning which only emerges as they develop throughout the work.7 This is not a mechanical process, but one subject to the hermeneutic circle from whole to part and back again. When related to each other and to ideas which they illustrate or the dramatic action which translatesthem into visual terms, the images cease to be discrete and arbitrarypictures and emerge as important components of the play's significance."8 The more concentratedhis or her poetic expression, the more naturallyan author seems to use the symbolic resourcesof language. The Greek lyric poets use them more than the epic poets, Aeschylus more than Euripides. In Plato's case, the brevity of the early, Socratic dialogues demands use of imagery, which is mainly abandoned after

Lebeck(note 4 above) 1-2.

proceeds similarly in his interpretationof the fragments, using the term "resonance" to designate something adapted from Lebeck's "prolepsis," since the original order of the fragments is unknown, unlike a play by Aeschylus or a dialogue by Plato. "OnReadingHeraclitus"(87-95), his discussion of his hermeneuticalprinciples,is well worth consulting. 8 Lebeck(note 4 above) 3.

Artand Thought Heraclitus 7 In The of (Cambridge1979),CharlesH. Kahn



the middle period. The special point regarding the dialogues which sets them apart from lyric and tragic poetry is that a deliberately conceptualdimension emerges from the dramatic,literary foundation, so that the images conveyed by the combination of concrete detail of situation, action, character,and language lead the reader (or the hearerin ancientGreece)on to an explicitly conceptual level. The aim is the Socraticone of reaching clear consciousness regarding the crucial matters, but Plato is using the written word and indirect contact with his audience instead of Socrates's face-to-face style, which could take advantage of the many nonverbal clues one has in conversationas to the respondent's grasp of what one wants to communicate. Hence Plato must employ more tools than the purely analyticaland logical ones of Socraticdiscourse. It is this conceptual level which is now normally thought of as the philosophy in the dialogues, and we are likely to depreciate the role of the "literary" level so as to concentrate on the concepts.9 But the literary images in the dialogues are quasiconceptual, carrying a freight of meaning along with their power to move the audience emotionally, a fact which enables the literary critic to find a moral content in a fictional text, whether consciously put there by the authoror not. In Plato'scase we do know that the purpose of the dialogues was a profoundly moral one, of course. Being abstract and by the very nature of the dialogue form not flatly stated, the conceptual level may be elusive and hard to be in clear about. If, however, we ground an interpretation the concrete details of the text, which become guides to the mid-level of images, and use the images to reachthe conceptualabstractions,we can reduce the likelihood of going astrayat the philosophicallevel. The test of these interpretive hypotheses, naturally, is their application: do they provide a fuller and clearer view of the dialogue? In the Gorgias, as in many of the early and middle dialogues if not all, the very first words suggest image and theme to us, casual as the opening passage may appear. Here the 9 To quoteLebeck employstwo modesof discourse: again,"Plato dialectic and the mythopoeic or imagistic. His philosophy' as emergent from most of the dialogues comprisesan interactionof the Central in to her two." Hereshe is applying technique the Phaedrus, "The
Myth of Plato's Phaedrus,"GRBS 13 (1972) 267, in a fashion which has
many similarities to what I am working out here. Lebeck has seen this also. On the Phaedrus she remarks that "the



Socratesis accostedby Callicles, who speaks in the words of what must have been a familiar proverb to a Greek, to the effect that one should arrive early at a feast and late at a fight. In this case Socrates has come too late for a feast (ioprzl) of rhetoric just concluded by Gorgias,Callicles says. (As we discover later, he has arrived before a struggle, one with Callicles himself, who is addressing him in such a friendly fashion now.) Friedlander points to the fight portionof the saying, but ignores the other half: in fact, both parts begin the process of unfolding important images for us, and the "feast" reference is at least as significantas the "fight." Dodds, in his comments on this passage, discusses the seeming superfluity of ioprti~ at 447A5. He notes that some editors have deleted "such'superfluous'words,"and remarksthat they all "could be glosses, but in most cases there is no proof whatever that they are, unless we assume that Plato was incapableof using an unnecessary word."" The approachI am proposing here does indeed assume just that, since a major artist in any medium avoids superfluity and includes only what contributes to the whole work. Hence the word is not superfluous but functional and used by choice.12 It emphasizes by repetition the first suggestion of an image, namely eating or ingesting, which will prove to be the image of one kind of power, the reference to fighting being an image for the other kind. At this very early point what is being said is naturally taken merely at face value, as inconsequential pleasantry, but it is in fact proleptic, in Lebeck's useful term, and leaves a trace which will be broadened and deepened as we advance. As the dialogue continues the image of eating is suggested again and again,and developed in variousways. Thesecond occurrenceis in the discussion with Polus at 462-63, where Socrates sets up his elaborate proportion in which gymnastic is to cosmetics as medicine is to cookery, and legislation is to sophistic as justice is to rhetoric. In the remainder of the dialogue Plato is mainly interested in only half of this proportion, the one in which justice

... between Socrates Phaedrus set and conversations and prologue following in motion majorthemes of the dialogue here enacted on the level of to banter and smalltalk"(ibid.283),but she readsbackwards pointto the later and adumbrations does notusethemto helpunderstand passages. 11"Dodds 1 above)189. (note 12Wecannot of by ignorethe possibility additions otherhands,butthat in shouldbe the lastresort interpretation.



: rhetoric : medicine: cookery. We hear no more of cosmetics,but a great deal about eating and cooking.13 The eating image is picked up again in Socrates'scolloquy with Callicles, where the life of pleasure advocated by the latter is said to consist of maximum,perpetualintake,for which eating and drinking are the image (494-96). At 494B the Calliclean ideal is said to be the life of a stone curlew, popularly believed to be constantly ingesting and excreting. And at 495D there is a little exchange, in which Callicles and Socrates address each other formally, naming the other's deme. Deme names were regularly punned on in Old Comedy, and commentators have noticed that Socrates's deme, but Alopek&,can be read as a pun on "fox,""14 they have not seen that Callicles's deme, Acharnai,is also a pun. In his Historyof Animals which Aristotle says that there is a voracious fish, the &xd&pvaq, has the unpleasant habit of biting off the posteriorhalf of the grey mullet as the latter swims in schools.'5 Simply by itself this might be merely coincidental, but given the way in which the eating image (especially prominentjust here) runs through the whole dialogue, the pun seems intended and significant.' The only other interpretation of this passage that has been proposed is that the two are parodying legal writs,17 but even if we accept that, it is entirely compatible with the punning; a literary passage may do two things at once.
13 E.g.,491A, 500B&E,518Bforcooking.

14Fox= O&cXnti. demenames comedy, DavidWhitehead, The see in For

and A Demesof Attica508/7-ca.250 B.C.: Political SocialStudy(Princeton1986) 328-38. In Greekfolklorethe fox was proverbialfor cunning and shiftiness. There is also the very old saying, perhaps going back to the pseudoHomeric Margitesand used by Archilochus in a famous fragment, about the fox knowing many small things and the hedgehog one large thing Vol. (see J. M. Edmonds,ElegyandIambus 2 [London1931],p. 174,fr. 118). At Republic 365C Plato, in speaking of virtue which is only a facade, approvingly quotes a few words from Archilochuson the fox's deceptiveness. Aristotle mentions at Hist.An. 607a3a breed of Laconianhunting dog, the &Xwnsei, which was thought to be a cross between dog and fox; later in the dialogue (515E)Callicleshints at Socrates'sSpartansympathies. has 15Hist. An. 610b11-19.The modern name of the &~adpva; not been and determined. Perhapsthe pairingof &X&pvac &wisic; is anotherparallel to the feast-fight contrast. 16 Indeed, the formin which Callicles'sdeme appears,'AXapvei;,sounds like an alternativeformof a&Xpva;, namely &Xapvc6;. very 17Dodds (note 1 above) 308.



This image of eating, then, gives us the clue to the first kind of power in the dialogue. Ingestion or engulfing, in which the eater negates the independent selfhood of the other, is a metaphor or image for the power of the sophist. This may look farfetchedat first sight, but let us pause brieflyto view the generalproblemof interpersonal contacts. When two individuals meet, especially for the first time, there is always a question as to just what the relationbetween the two will be, even though the uncertaintymay lie below the threshold of ordinary consciousness. Underneaththeir overt words and gestures two persons touch, so to speak, in a way that is usually indeterminate at first, needing to be resolved. This is obviously a delicate matter, requiring not a little self-awareness to detect fully. Since social forms and habitual behavior patterns often mask what is happening, normallywe arelikely to noticeit only in certainstrikinginstances. Easy as it is to dismiss on positivistic grounds this almost ectoplasmic shock of self on self, in the case which interests us here, that of the Greeks,there can be no dispute about the reality in ancient Greece of what has been called the "contest system," in which everyone competes against everyone else for public prestige.'8 The contests are zero-sum "games":i.e., someone must lose when someone else wins. Winning occurs when either by use or by threat of force something valuable (life, goods, land, and so on) is taken from the other person; or, more peaceably, by publicly competing with others in a formal situation where there are judges who award the prizes. We can add to this the taking of something through stealthand craft,as Hermes stole the cattle of the Sun. The most important prize is esteem, whatever else may be included; a wreath of wild olive, wild celery or laurel has little intrinsic value. At the encounter of two individuals each must resolve the question of his or her status relative to the other. The status may be decided by a contest between them for one to dominate the other, but there are other possible resolutions. The meeting can be aborted, either by one refusing the encounter through timidity or by one simply ignoring the other through indifference or disdain. The contact may then be brokenoff entirelyor be artificialand lifeless.
18See Alvin W. Gouldner,TheHellenicWorld, Sociological A Analysis,Part Greece the Originsof SocialTheory and I of EnterPlato:Classical (New York &

2: Greek Contest Evanston of Patterns Culture." 1969), System: Chapter "The



In a third resolution, also non-competitive,the persons may recognize and value each other as equals. We may suppose this to be the common case, but in practice it is rarer than either of the first two, however admirableit may seem. In a variantof this third resolution, one person may sense that he or she is stronger than the other, but want to use his or her strength to enhance the strength of the other, moving toward equality. The question appropriateto the dialogue is, how to see an encounterbetween a sophist or an adherentof sophisticpersuasionand anotherperson. The position of the historicalGorgiasappearsto have been that the psyche is integral with the body, and that logoi, words, act on the psyche in a quasi-physicalmanner parallel to the action of drugs on the body. Accordingto Gorgias,the power of logos is to manipulateand mold the psyche "asit wishes."19 Further,logos is not subject to objectivereality, but is itself an independent agent; speech being a human convention which we cannot transcend, together with its relations to psyche it effectively defines reality for us. The closest we come to truthis 86?a, opinion, and persuasion operates through a kind of deception, &~Airl,hardly a view acceptable to Plato. If we look at irrational,emotional persuasion,it does seem to be most like the first form of encounter, domination of one by the other. Its characteris in fact easier to present in an image than analytically in words. The aim of the persuader is to assimilate the other to himself or herself, to make the other like himself or herself or conformto his or her wish, and in doing so to override the differenceand independenceof the other. Even if the persuaderdoes not himself or herself in fact subscribeto what he wants the other to accept, as in the case Gorgiasmentions (465B)of a sophist's ability to persuade a sick man to submit to unpleasant treatment by a physician, in order to be effective the persuadermust appear to the other to accept it himself or herself.20The appearanceof sincerity is crucial to the actor, the politician, the seducer. Genuine sincerity, in fact, is even more powerfully convincing, in proportion to the intensity of the conviction.21 of P. and 10-14.SeeCharles Segal,"Gorgias thePsychology especiallyHelen 66 HSCP (1962) the Logos," 99-155,fora detailed studyof the matter. 20 We mightthinkof the homelypicture a parenttryingto get a of child to take a medicineor to eat a disliked food by going recalcitrant of throughthe motions enjoyment. 21 "A of Vlastossays,apropos Protagoras: manwho baseshis Gregory
19 The most relevant texts here are Gorgias's Helen and Palamedes,



In the case of someone who does sincerelyaccept what he or she wants to persuade the other of, but whose acceptance is only emotional and who has only emotional ways of persuading the other, any resistance of the other to persuasion is irritating. The persuader is not interested in reasons for resistance; his or her urge is to eliminate the irritant from his or her consciousness. Making the other like or subservient to himself or herself will achieve that, and Socrates points out to Callicles how the tyrant cf. generates his own likeness in those close to him (510B-E; 513B-C). If, of course, the other stubbornly persists in his or her opposition, the urge can bring different solutions to the problem. The irritation can be disposed of by breaking off contact with the other, or in the extreme case by eliminating the other altogether. Polus talks good deal about the desirability of being able to kill whomever one will, in one breath with the desirability of despoiling others of theirgoods (466D,468E,471). Although Polus seems to derive his enjoyment simply from contemplating such bloodthirsty notions, Callicles, as the man of action, is the sort of person who would be willing to do more than imagine, and it is that third section of the dialogue where the image of ingestion is most elaborately developed and attached to Socrates's respondent. Socrates, we note, has quietly challenged Callicles early on to convince him and bring him to agreement (488A), as he did earlier with Polus (472B), and until the end of the dialo ue he remains unpersuaded and hence an irritant to Callicles.

on to claimto wisdomon hismereability imposehisthoughts othersis much in thanonewhobasesit on hisabilityto less likelyto succeed thisveryobject changetheirviewsin sucha waythattheresultwillbe fortheirown goodtheir good as judgedby themselvesand by whatevernormsare acceptable to themselves. A doctorwho does not undertaketo do his best to makehispatientsfeel well, and says his jobis justto maketheir feelings to (Introduction the agree with his, is not likely to have any patients." 1956]xxii). Butthis failsto analyzethe sophistic Protagoras [Indianapolis it betweena conscientious doctor stancedeeplyenough; cannot distinguish who his and a "Doctor by dispensing Feelgood," gratifies patients liberally mood-altering drugs. The root issue is one of objectivewelfare versus of welfare and the propriety the very normsof the patient,in subjective Plato'sview. is wayto lookatthiskindof interaction froma morephenom22 Another standpoint.A versionof this canbe foundin my enological psychological



Eating is the first image of power in the dialogue. But Plato's purpose seems to be not only to exhibit the nature of sophistic power but to contrast it with a different sort, just as there is both false and true rhetoric (503A). Indeed, rhetoric and power are not only twinned, but one is a reversed, mirror image of the other, as suggested in the matched articulation of flattery and tendance Socrates offers Polus at 464-65. The proleptic presentation of beneficial power at the outset, where the second half of the proverb speaks of fighting as opposed to feasting, provides the clue to its nature. What we thus expect to find is a thread of reference to conflict and contention running through the entire text. In fact, overt references of that kind are fewer than references to ingestion, but this is not surprising since the whole dialogue presents an image of struggle simply by showing Socrates at grips with three different opponents. In the proverb, "fighting" suggests something to be avoided, yet as with most of the concepts in the dialogue there is an ambiguity that needs to be resolved. From the Socraticpoint of view what looks like fighting is not necessarily a bad thing, to be shunned. War is not the only kind of contest, nor need all contests be zero-sum. There is also the example of the athlete striving against a respected opponent, where one can lose with honor, or of the trainer contesting with the athlete in order to develop the latter'sbody and skills. The key text comes late in the dialogue, after what began as Socrates'sratherfriendly sparringwith Gorgias has escalated to the intensity of his engagementwith Callicles. The theme of therapeiais introduced early, when Socrates, in setting up the elaborate proportionality at 463, contrasts it as tendance of the soul with coxacei'a, flattery or pandering, and it is referred to often thereafter. At 521A Socratescalls his effort to care for the Athenians, his therapeia,a struggling with them, 8taaXoOeat-precisely what we have seen him doing with his fellow citizen, Callicles. This is not a desire for domination or elimination,as is made plain by the relaxed tone of his exchange with Gorgiashimself;in dialecticalengagement with others Socrateshas carefully disclaimed that he is acting from love of victory for its own sake. (457D-E, 515B; at 505E <ptkovtida, <ptkovttdais said to apply only to the discovery of the truth.)

1.3 "Did Refute Plato article Quarterly (1984) History Philosophy of Protagoras?" 225-40.



By looking at just what happens in all three parts of the dialogue as marked off by change of respondent, we can see Socrates's constant technique and aim, as adapted to the unique character of each of his interlocutors. The thrust of his questioning is to find in the other some solid point of value, where the other will takea stand. As RobertCushmanhas noted, Socrates's pur"was to arouse from slumbertrue opinions which pose in the Gorgias each[respondent]feigned to disavow but really believed."23 In terms of the wrestling image, his aim is to make his respondent find one firm spot on himself on which to maintain his balance can and to use as a fulcrumaround which self-reconstruction begin. In the case of Gorgias,this balance point is the admission of the importance of arete in those who acquire rhetorical technique from him (459D-460A). With Polus, it is the admission that doing wrong is uglier than suffering wrong (474C). Callicles is a tougher case, and Socrates must probe very deeply, going so far as to hold up before him the spectacle of a catamite's enjoyment of pleasure before he will admit that some pleasures are squalid (494E). But in each instance the message is that here is a value which the respondent accepts and that to abandon it is to lose one's footing and one's bearings in life. Consistency within oneself is vital (482C),but consistency obtained by renouncing all values other than pleasure or power leads only to a pleonectic Barmecide feast. With each respondent, also, a vision of others is involved. Gorgias must be concerned with virtue in his students, Polus must recognize that the ugliness of wrongdoing announces something about the wrongdoer, and Callicles must see that one engulfed by loathsome pleasures is one who has abandonedany claim to respect. And at the same time, each must see himself in the mirror of the other: Polus, for instance, must realize that by his own admitted principle if he does wrong he himself is ugly to behold. It is easy to confuse Socratic therapeia through dialectical inquiry with sophistic persuasion. The effect of logic and rational analysis on those more accustomed to emotional governance of their minds can feel like a sort of domination and loss of self, especially when the logic leads to uncomfortableconclusions. It is easy enough to observe this reactiontoday; in Plato's time logic was embedded in thought and discourse, more felt than seen, so Socrates's cheerful willingness to "follow the argument where it

Therapeia: Plato'sConception Philosophy of (ChapelHill 1958)308.



leads" was a strange and unfamiliar stance. For others, the power of reason would seem a threatening, alien force, not readily distinguishable from sophisticengulfment. Callicles illustrates this in his responses to Socrates's arguments. At one point (505 ff.) he just withdraws from the dialectic to escape it, and eventually remarks (513) that although he obscurely feels that what Socrates has said is right, still he cannot bring himself to believe it, that is, to identify himself with it. For the self-centeredness which craves sophistic power, reasoning is merely a tool like any other, as the real-life Gorgias viewed words as entirely comparableto drugs. The sophistic personality dislikes and distrusts submitting to the impersonal power of reason, which is controllingand not controlled,out of fear of loss of individuality. But the central point is exactly the question of the individual person. Here again Gouldner'sanalysis can help us. Various people have pointed out that the time of Socrates is the time when a new and more individualisticsense of self is coming into being in Greece, fostered by the dissolution of time-hallowed social patterns. As Gouldner says, this new sense of self has two main factors: first,a feeling of potency, and second, a grasp of personal individuality and identity. In archaic culture, derived from tribal society, the person was to a very large extent a functionof the group or groups he or she belonged to by birth. Even the hero of legend obtained his qualities by descent from a god or demi-god and from membershipin a naturalelite. When this enveloping structure crumbles, the sense of security and potency it gave to individuals vanishes. Yet, as Gouldner points out, One of the most important elements in the Greek conception of self is a sense of its individual power, the feeling that it is able, or ought to be able, to influence or control things in a sphere around it. To a great extent the Greek image of the person, or what one needs to be and to have in order to be a person, centers on the possession of power, on the imputed ability to makedecisions governingone's own actionsand to live under no one else's constraint.24 24 Goulder (note18above)101-102.



This sense of power is especially crucial in a highly competitive society where one's self-imagemust continuallybe validated. Further, the contest system sharpens the sense of the boundaries of one's self through resistance to others' demands or by imposing one's will on others.25 But there is another path to selfdefinition, and that is to see oneself from outside. To do this one needs to put oneself in a variety of roles, including the role of one's opponents. "Once the self can adopt the standpoint of widely different others toward itself, the more individual the person comes to feel: for each of the others sees him in somewhat different ways."26 Dialectical reason acts by stimulating the respondent to reorganize his or her personal chaos of concepts and values so as to enhance himself or herselfas an individual. Thatis, individuality arises when the components of a self are knit coherently together, and its boundaries are drawn more definitely and consciously. And this is power, in the Socratic sense. In trying to formulate a Platonic definition of power, taking into account the whole of the Platonic corpus, Rupert Lodge arrives at the statement that power is "the creation of value by the least possible reorganization of what otherwise remains chaotic."27 The self which is coherent and clearly defined is effective, in the Greek sense of arete (cf. 503E-506E). If one submits to the rule of reason,28it not only provides the tool and standard of self-criticism, but also changes one's view of a relation to another person. When nothing stands above the self, then selves are inevitably in competition, but under the impersonalstandard of reason, which humbles the self, the other takes on worth and interest and becomes someone to understand and to value, rather than to dominate or eliminate. The right
25Ibid. 106.

115. Gouldner socialroleof dramain discussesthe important in the ancientGreece thisconnection; dialogues of course,dramas.It is are, in fromthe discussion whenCallicles withdraws worthnotingthatSocrates, a sulk takeson his rolealso(505D ff.). 14 380. Thewholeof Chapter is devotedto the Good 1928) (London Highest of power. problem 28 I do not intendto identifyreason, the classical in and especially the fromit, can Platonic sense,withlogicas such. A logicalstrand be abstracted is but a Plato-primarily-as-logician a gross distortionof Plato-as-artistphilosopher.
and the of 2FRupert C. Lodge, Plato'sTheory Ethics:TheMoralCriterion

26 Ibid.



course of action becomes that of preserving or, even better, enhancing the other's personhood-which is precisely the Socratic mission of improving his fellow citizens. The object of Socrates's dialectic in his function as the true practitioner of the political art and citizen of the polis (521D) was to stimulate his respondents to become thinking and acting citizens, gaining individuality and independence under the guidance of reason, not to make them imitations of himself. Early in the Gorgias Chaerephonattemptsto play the role of Socrates, and shows that he lacks Socrates's power in discussion; imitation is an insubstantialshadow, and the true aim should be to act from oneself.29 The purpose of Socrates'srationalpower, then, only looks superficially like battering down the independence of others or making them resemblehimself. In aiding them to become the kind of deeply rational person that he represents,he is in fact freeing them to be independent of and thereforeto be other than himself. Rationalityas authenticin the sense employedby variousexistentialists-"the necessity for each of us to realizehis own uniqueness""3--is fundamentally different from reason as a tool of emotion or as imitative or superficial. It is by surrenderingoneself to the lucidity of reason, which Callicles is unwilling to do, that one makes oneself authentically rational, i.e., an agent who identifies with reason and acts from it. Thatis Socraticpower.

Athens TheAmerican Studies, School Classical of

In becomingan individualone does not become "like"anotherindividual; individuality, like existence,is not a generalquality. Existentialism (Oxford1970)55-56. She puts the matter 30 MaryWarnock, when she says: "Authenticexistence can begin only when we have clearly realized and thoroughlyunderstoodwhat we are. Oncewe have grasped that human reality is characterized the fact thateach humanbeing is uniquely by himself and no one else, and that each of us has his own possibilitiesto fulfill, then our concernwith the world ... canbecomeauthentic concern,to fulfillour real potentialityin the world"(55;emphasis in the original).