Soc. Rhetoric is like medicine.
Phaedr. How so?
Soc. Why, because medicine has to define the nature of the body
and rhetoric of the soul-if we would proceed, not empirically but
scientifically, in the one case to impart health and strength by
giving medicine and food in the other to implant the conviction or
virtue which you desire, by the right application of words and
Phaedr. There, Socrates, I suspect that you are right.
Soc. And do you think that you can know the nature of the soul
intelligently without knowing the nature of the whole?
Phaedr. Hippocrates the Asclepiad says that the nature even of the
body can only be understood as a whole.
Soc. Yes, friend, and he was right:-still, we ought not to be
content with the name of Hippocrates, but to examine and see whether
his argument agrees with his conception of nature.
Phaedr. I agree.
Soc. Then consider what truth as well as Hippocrates says about this
or about any other nature. Ought we not to consider first whether that
which we wish to learn and to teach is a simple or multiform thing,
and if simple, then to enquire what power it has of acting or being
acted upon in relation to other things, and if multiform, then to
number the forms; and see first in the case of one of them, and then
in. case of all of them, what is that power of acting or being acted
upon which makes each and all of them to be what they are?
Phaedr. You may very likely be right, Socrates.
Soc. The method which proceeds without analysis is like the
groping of a blind man. Yet, surely, he who is an artist ought not
to admit of a comparison with the blind, or deaf. The rhetorician, who
teaches his pupil to speak scientifically, will particularly set forth
the nature of that being to which he addresses his speeches; and this,
I conceive, to be the soul.