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The Concept: Dissoi Logoi

Autor:   •  October 10, 2017  •  1,363 Words (6 Pages)  •  210 Views

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Dissoi Logoi can be a useful tool when analyzing complex issues such as this. As previously mentioned in draft 1, the counter argument strategy known as Dissoi Logoi can be used to bring about a sensus communis otherwise known as the "Truth" about why we do the things we do. By offering reasoning and then counter reasoning as justification for actions, our understanding of the subject matter at hand becomes more naturally well-rounded. According to Socrates, considering alternative possibilities and perspectives is a surefire way of interpreting logos and ultimately getting closer to the "Truth".

The persuasive power of logos is the theme of Gorgias' " Encomium of Helen". In this artifact Gorgias argues against blaming Helen for leaving her husband and native land to go with Paris to live in Troy. Gorgias poses four possible reasons for the behavior of Helen. These explanations include "(1) That it was by decree of the gods and of Necessity, (2) that she was carried off by force, (3) that she was persuaded by the power of speech (logos), and (4) that it was all the work of love"(Logos and Contemporary Composition Theory p8). Gorgias claims that Helen was not to blame for her actions because of the overwhelming power of speech (logos). He posits that Helen's ability to think clearly must have been disrupted by the influence of logos.

When it comes to American Imperialism, there are also a multitude of reasons that could explain its existence. Dissoi Logoi can be used to bring about meaning from this issue just as it was done in "The Encomium of Helen". American Imperialism may not exist solely because of greed and selfish attitudes as many people may think. Some explanations for and reasons why we have Imperialism are as follows. (1) Social Darwinism, this theory suggests that we as people have taken the principles of the great biologist, Charles Darwin, and applied them in a survival of the fittest manner with regards to humans. (2) It is God's will that we expand outside of the United States in order to spread the message of Christianity and save the souls of our foreign brothers and sisters. (3) The most commonly thought of reason which pertains to the United State's need for securing a superior navy. The need for colonial bases that stretch the globe is central to this explanation. (4) Another reason for imperialism could be that an overproduction of goods and resources has caused the United States to seek more overseas markets for trade. By posing questions and counter arguments about the issue, we are better able to make decisions about the truth of the matter just as Gorgias had done with the citizens of Greece.


Primary sources:

-Dissoi Logoi. (395 B.C.E.), section 2

- Gorgias. (380 B.C.E.) Encomium of Helen, section 5

Secondary sources:

-Logos and Contemporary Composition Theory (pg 8-10) retrieved from

- Selfa, L. (spring 1999) U.S. Imperialism: A Century of Slaughter, issue 7. retrieved from

- James Dale Williams, An Introduction to Classical Rhetoric, 2009.


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