oa African Yearbook of Rhetoric - Thrasymachus’ katabasis : relations of power and ideological struggle in Plato’s Republic Book I

Volume 9 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2220-2188
  • E-ISSN: 2305-7785



The philosophic and the class bases of relevance are even more crucial when it comes to the area of critical approaches and interpretations. For the critic, whether teacher, lecturer, interpreter or analyst, is a product of a class society. Each child by birth, family or parents’ occupation is brought up in a given class. By education children are brought up in the culture, values and world outlook of the dominant class which may or may not be the same as the class of their birth and family. By choice they may opt for one or the other side in the class struggles of their day. Therefore their interpretation of literature and culture and history will be influenced by their philosophical standpoint, or intellectual base, and their conscious or unconscious class sympathies …. In struggle is our history, our language and our being. That struggle begins wherever we are; in whatever we do.”

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o1

Forms of Refutation, Forms of Subjugation

“[T]his kind of answer does have some effectivity, and that it should therefore be used when the aim is to defeat ideology on the terrain of ideology, i.e., when the aim is ideological struggle strictly speaking: for it is an ideological answer, one which is situated precisely on the opponent’s ideological terrain. In major historical situations it has happened and may happen again that one is obliged or forced to fight on the terrain of the ideological opponent, when it has proved impossible to draw him onto one’s own terrain, if he is not ready to pitch his tents there, or if it is necessary to descend onto his terrain. But this practice, and the mode of employment of ideological arguments adapted to this struggle, must be the object of a theory so that ideological struggle in the domain of ideology does not become a struggle governed by the laws and wishes of the opponent, so that it does not transform us purely into subjects of the ideology it is our aim to combat.”

Louis Althusser2

It has become a well-established tradition among professional philosophers who publish on Plato to argue and take a stand on the dramatic features of his dialogues, on how literary, narrative and rhetorical devices shape and impact on his doctrines.3

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