Soc. Suppose I tell you something which somebody who knows told me.
Soc. May not "the wolf," as the proverb says, claim a hearing"?
Phaedr. Do you say what can be said for him.
Soc. He will argue that is no use in putting a solemn face on
these matters, or in going round and round, until you arrive at
first principles; for, as I said at first, when the question is of
justice and good, or is a question in which men are concerned who
are just and good, either by nature or habit, he who would be a
skilful rhetorician has; no need of truth-for that in courts of law
men literally care nothing about truth, but only about conviction: and
this is based on probability, to which who would be a skilful orator
should therefore give his whole attention. And they say also that
there are cases in which the actual facts, if they are improbable,
ought to be withheld, and only the probabilities should be told either
in accusation or defence, and that always in speaking, the orator
should keep probability in view, and say good-bye to the truth. And
the observance, of this principle throughout a speech furnishes the
Phaedr. That is what the professors of rhetoric do actually say,
Socrates. I have not forgotten that we have quite briefly touched upon
this matter already; with them the point is all-important.
Soc. I dare say that you are familiar with Tisias. Does he not
define probability to be that which the many think?
Phaedr. Certainly, he does.
Soc. I believe that he has a clever and ingenious case of this
sort:-He supposes a feeble and valiant man to have assaulted a
strong and cowardly one, and to have robbed him of his coat or of
something or other; he is brought into court, and then Tisias says
that both parties should tell lies: the coward should say that he
was assaulted by more men than one; the other should prove that they
were alone, and should argue thus: "How could a weak man like me