Truth, Parrhesia, and Politics in Ancient Greece


Following up on Foucault, the author addresses the idea of parrhesia in ancient Greece, especially in Plato. There is no democracy if there is no parrhesia, where parrhesia can be defined as the verbal activity in which the speaker chooses to speak frankly and clearly. In ancient Greece, however, at a certain point the practice of parrhesia “changes,” revealing itself as dangerous for democracy. What ensues is thus the missed alliance of parrhesia and democracy due to the fact not only that truth-saying is rejected by power but also that the imitation of truth-saying, that is, the false truth-saying, gains terrain. It is not by chance that in the Phaedrus, philosophy insofar as itself  parrhesia situates itself in a relation of opposition and exclusion with respect to rhetoric.

Truth, Parrhesia, and Politics in Ancient Greece

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