Philosophical Versus Rhetorical Approaches to Education Perhaps the goal of liberal arts is not merely the quest for truth or the art of rhetorical persuasion but a combination of the two. Isocrates believed that using polished speaking to impress and influence others was more important than seeking philosophical truth…
Surely, polished speaking at the expense of truth is not the way to go, but unfortunately we live in a society were people are judged based on how they speak as well as how they act and what they truly believe. Therefore, the ability to speak well and influence people is important in a liberal arts education. In addition, being a truth seeker is just as important if not more important in the liberal arts. This is why a combination of the two is necessary. Isocrates school of thought is much more practical when compared to Plato’s school of thought. However, both of them deal with higher education and are not in complete conflict with each other. Although there is a continual debate in liberal arts between Isocrates’ rhetorical tradition and Plato’s philosophical tradition, certain experts would argue that the debate is necessary and adds to the culture of higher education. The debate does have wider implications. Currently, it can be observed that many people do not trust their government officials because they feel they are purely rhetoricians and hardly ever speak the truth. This is something that Plato warns us about and it is why he believed that those who are in positions of power should be focused on seeking and professing the truth and not just speaking cleverly to gain power and money. ...
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