The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #43: The Phaedrus and the Nature of Rhetoric

General Introduction
– What’s on the blog?
– Listener feedback

Plato Gets Hostile
– Nathan explains Weaver
– Why does Plato hate rhetoric?
– Structure vs. content
– What is pleasant and what is good
– Giving the sophists a bad name

Weaver’s Platonic Allegory
– Farmer gets insulting
– Interpretation of the performances
– Good lovers, bad lovers, and non-lovers
– Hook-up culture
– Divine madness and lovesickness
– The move toward something higher and better
– Is Weaver overly simplistic?
– The return to sophistry

Weaver, Plato, and the Soul
– Rhetoric’s proper effect
– The Divine Mind
– Rhetoric and dialectic
– Weaver’s philosophical relativism

The Discourse of Business and the Discourse of the Poet
– Is this dichotomy out of date?
– Shop talk and the pitch
– Official style
– Scientific histrionics
– Is flat rhetoric active or passive?
– Academic BS

Analogy and Truthful Exaggeration
– Talking about things that are not yet
– Richard Weaver reads Hebrews
– Why it’s important to define the good

Teaching Composition
– The problem with Freshman Comp
– Assigning Phaedrus
– How to use the dialectic of good in the classroom
– Sneaking it into nonsectarian schools
– Nathan’s Plato/Boethius class




Derrida, Jacques. Dissemination. Trans. Barbara Johnson. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1983.

Frankfurt, Harry G. On BS. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 2005.

Plato. Gorgias. Trans. Chris Emlyn-Jones and Walter Hamilton. New York: Penguin, 2004.

—. Phaedrus. Trans. Christopher Rowe. New York: Penguin, 2005.

Weaver, Richard M. Language Is Sermonic: Richard M. Weaver on the Nature of Rhetoric. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1985.

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