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Working paper

Free Speech in Plato’s Gorgias

Humanities. HUM. Basic Research Programme, 2016. No. WP BRP 121/HUM/2016.
As this new reading of Plato’s Gorgias shows, four distinct positions with regard to freedom of speech are introduced in this classical text on the relations between philosophy and rhetoric: two realistic and two logical. The realism of rhetoric poses the key political problem of incommensurability between freedom and justice. The realism of philosophy is able to solve this problem, but only through a mediatory differentiation of two purely logical stands, which might have found direct counterparts in the two dominant forms of political philosophy in the 20th century. One of them is political liberalism, which corresponds to the ‘geometric’ way of argumentation in ‘Gorgias’ and inevitably passes into a theory of normative justice. Another is the mainstream ‘continental’ philosophy, which corresponds to the ‘erotic’ way of argumentation in Gorgias and explores the possibilities of the positive freedom.