Rhetoric, Foucault, and Parrhesia

Ceren Yegen, & Memet Abukan. Journal of Management Research. Volume 6, Issue 1. 2014.


In the analysis of rhetoric as an art which takes place in discourse or texts through language and mainly aims to persuade, target pass and content of rhetoric are very important. Although the main meaning of rhetoric is thought to be “efforts to persuade”, multiple aims and functions of rhetoric move it beyond its real meaning and to a great importance. Assumptions of rhetoric through which intellectual phenomenons reflect on expressions brought a new dimension to rhetoric discussions. In this sense, it is necessary to discuss about the aim, method and importance of rhetoric. This study discusses the concept of “Parrhesia” which is both similar and different phenomenon compared to rhetoric, Foucault’s ideas about the difference of parrhesia and rhetoric and the role of parrhesia styles in building real/truth and system. In addition, considering the fact that discourse in which rhetoric occurs on the basis of language is one of the significant study areas of Foucault, this study discusses the discourse approach of Foucault on the basis of his language approach.


The concept of rhetoric is originated from the Greek “elocution” word and it can be called as written or oral efforts to persuade. However, this definition of rhetoric is too limited to be understood. The area in which rhetoric is built, the person who has rhetoric and whom rhetoric targets at constitute a whole process and these elements show the complex structure of rhetoric. Rhetoric has three elements being Ethos, Pathos and Logos. Ethos refers to attitude, character or spirit while Pathos refers to the skill of awakening a feeling. Logos refers to mind. According to Ulas et al., rhetoric (2002: 1211) is the art of using language to persuade or affect others, in other words, art of persuasion. According to Aristo, (2013: 19) “rhetoric is similar with dialectic.”

The first discussions of rhetoric which is considered as “empty talk” by some people take place in Platon’s Gorgias. Plato expresses his negative opinions about rhetoric and finds it “rotten”. McKeon calls rhetoric as a “discipline which organizes and structures all other arts and disciplines and is used as a control criterion on all other disciplines”. (Herrick, 2005: 1-2)

“Systematic function of elocution (or rhetoric) probably emerged in Syracuse city of Sicilia Island around B.C. 467. A tyrant named Hieron dies and a discussion comes up about which family owns the lands on which the tyrant sequestered. Rhetoric user Corax offers a defense training to make the citizens accept his claims before court. Colax also plays a significant role in the management of reforms in Syracuse. His systematic approach on rhetoric training is rapidly adapted by others and moved to Athens and other Greek City-States (Polis) by professional trainers and rhetoric performers known as Sophists. For most of Sophists, Athens city was attractive as people were paying high amount of money for learning rhetoric. According to Michael Billig, “Athens were offering magnificent opportunities for someone who is full of love to discuss, has a good tone of voice and ability to give humorous responses in the second half of fifth century. Finally, “Protagoras from Abdera, Hippias from Elis, Gorgias from Leontini and Prodicus from Keos (Iulis) came to Athens for the search of reputation and a bright future.” (Herrick, 2005: 32)

According to Fuhrmann, as in all subject structures, rhetoric was created by Greeks and adopted to infinite lines by Romans. The importance attached to rhetoric by Romans could be understood from the fact that Roman Empire and Roman Republic considered rhetoric as an education system. (Herrick, 2005)

Rhetoric gives three advices to speakers: The first one is to search for the persuasion way, the second is to effort to gain people through enjoyful and playful way, the third one is to affect hearts and search for ways to gain people. (Pazarkaya, 1994: 7 cited by Çotuksöken, 2002: 40)

According to Herrick (2005: 33-89) rhetoric has some social functions. For example, rhetoric responds, tests ideas and helps to defense thoughts. Rhetoric also uncovers the reality and plays role to form knowledge. In addition, rhetoric helps to build communities and arranges the distribution of power. Moreover, for instance in media, any kind of digital expression, visual elements etc. except for style target at persuasion in news and aim to improve rhetoric. Because, people will believe in what they see and they will be affected.

According to Aristo (2013: 20-23), there are three kinds of rhetoric. The first one is “political rhetoric”, the second is “judicial rhetoric” and the third one is “epideictic rhetoric”. Political rhetoric is based on encouraging and discouraging; judicial rhetoric is based on blaming and defense and epideictic rhetoric is based on praising and criticism. Accordingly, political and judicial rhetoric aims to manipulate the decision making process.

Rhetoricians; those who teach rhetoric were named as “Sophist” which is an adjective originated from the Greek word “Sophos” referring to “virtuous” or “the one having technical information”. Sophists were free people who were giving persuasion training to Greeks. Sophists guaranteed that they can teach “suitable care in personal relationships, the best management of house and being both speaker and action man in state administration to have real power in city”; in other words, they guaranteed “language competency” which promises the success required for participation in political life and financial efforts A sophist could rent himself as a speaker or text writer; could be teacher in schools for public speaking education and sell his speeches in a public activity, hearing or legal process. It is even said that in that period, sophist were earning astronomical money. Sophists were blamed by the defenders of classical Greek social values; however most of sophists became wealthy and famous in Greece. The most prominent sophists were Gorgias, Protagoras, Polus, Hippias and Theodoras. Considering rhetoric as an art, one of the most important early teachers and performers of this art was Gorgias. Living more than a hundred years, Gorgias came to Athens as a diplomat and had reputation as a significant rhetorician. Apart from rhetoric, Gorgias was famous with his “recognized formulation of septic philosophy” as well. According to this philosophy; “First: Nothing exists”. Second: If anything exists, one cannot know about it.” Accordingly, the basis of Gorgias’ idea is suspicion. It is said that Protagoras is the first one who gives rhetoric lessons. Aspasia is known as the first female rhetorician of that era. Aspasia was an extraordinary woman and had a significant rhetoric skill. (Herrick, 2005: 33-45)

Rhetorician should use a good language for an effective and targeted language. According to Aristo (2009: 27), “neither an organism nor an object made up of pieces can present the suitable order of its pieces. Beauty is based on order and size.” The theoretical discussions of rhetoricians which generally aim to inform, affect and persuade should not be too long and bore people but the rhetorician should have a good language in his discussion. According to Aristo (2009: 65), the way of a very long phraseology creates a ridiculous effect.

According to Aristo, (2013: 22-68) a rhetorician should attach great importance to emotional and periodical phenomenons such as anger, calmness, friendship, hostility, fear, trust, shame, shamelessness, kindness, cruelty, rage, jealousy, envy, pleasure, courage, questioning and even youth-elderliness etc. For example, a rhetorician using a folk tale will plant sincerity in the addressee. Because these tales are sincere and come from the core of society. According to Aristo, even seriousness and burlesque have great important in rhetoric. For example Gorgias (Aristo, 2013:30) says “You need to defeat the seriousness of your enemies with burlesque and defeat their burlesque with seriousness” and underlines the effectiveness of all negative emotional efforts and activities in rhetoric.

Since the effective power of rhetoric on politics was discovered, the most effective rhetoric discourses have been observed in political field. Those with political discourse were named as “political rhetorician” and according to Aristo (2013: 23), a political rhetorician must not only steer his audiences to an action or discourage them to attend an action but also show that he ignores their happiness. According to Aristo, political discourse subjects are collected under five titles being ways and tools, peace and war, national defense, export and import and legislation. Aristo mentions that sophists refute discourses to persuade and affect people and he points out the speediness of speech, long speech, rage and competition and distraction. According to Aristo, most of these speeches are nonsense; paralogism and although most of them are correct judgment, some of them just look like correct. According to Aristo, there are four kinds of discussions used by sophists and these are didactic, dialectic, tester and argumentative. According to him, deliberators have various targets being rebuttal, mistake, untrustworthiness, language error, encourage and provoke the chattering of the addressee. A sophist first rebuts the idea of his addressee and then shows him the wrong. According to Aristo, a sophist could rebut through wording. “Rebuttal occurs through the possibility of understanding the different and same things”. According to Aristo’ “rebuttals based on the more correct or the valid can be understood from the fact that approval and ignorance are not about the same object. The most easily recognizable ones are those which conflict with the rebuttal concept.”(Aristo, 2007: 7-19)

According to Aristo, “someone who wants to prove something does not care for demanding an approval or ignorance from someone else”. Accordingly, it is the business of the one who makes analysis. Because the art of analysis belongs to the art of dialectic and someone who claims to be the specialist of this art discusses with the ignorant. According to Aristo, sophist is someone who looks like doing this while “dialectician gets use of more general principles about the problem”. According to Aristo, a sophist could use an expression which can be misunderstood due to rage and this situation brings along language error. A sophist should speak swiftly but should take benefit of the truth and the trustable. A sophist should know how to separate and merge words. Because “rebuttal is based on special mergence of words”. (Aristo, 2007: 29-65)

Aristo distinguishes rhetorician and dialectician in his work titled Rhetoric. According to him, a person’s sophist being is related to ethical aim.

“Rhetorician” can define the art knowledge or ethical aim of the speaker. On the other hand, it is different in dialectic: A person is “sophist” due to an ethical aim while a “dialectician” is dialectician because he has competency rather than an ethical aim.” (Aristo, 2013: 37)

Rhetoric was an education system especially in Rome. The most reputable rhetorician and rhetoric theoretician in Rome was Cicero. Rhetoric theory of Cicero is based on wisdom and eloquence. Cicero tells that no mother how wise you are, if you do not have eloquence, it will be a disadvantage. According to Cicero, there are five elements of rhetoric namely; invention, arrangement, memory, expression and addressing. He discusses characteristics of a good rhetorician as follows: A good speaker, knowledge of law, national and international economy and even commerce,. He should know philosophy, poem and other arts and present his arguments with the most powerful and the best language. He should also take the audience as the center and use humor elements of rhetoric. Another significant rhetorician, Quintilian underlines the relationship between rhetoric and education in his great work titled “Main Principles of Rhetoric”. He warns families that they should make good choices in selection of people around the child from baby-sitter to friends and they should have the highest level of culture so as to bring their children as good rhetoricians. Being a remarkable name in Early Middle Age rhetoric when the effect of Cicero could be seen, St. Augustine converted classical rhetoric into church language and made effort to make rhetoric be useful for Christianity and Christian Church. St. Augustine, enabled Christian teachers to undertake the responsibility of discovering holy book and teaching students about it. (Herrick, 2005).

In this chapter of the study, we should give brief information about Foucault’s opinions on language and discourse which lay ground for both rhetoric and parrhesia before analyzing his approaches to these two phenomenons. Because both discourse and rhetoric are expressed and built via language just as parrhesia.

Foucault and Language

The studies of Foucault are centered on language and text. According to him, discourse creates both its subject and object. Discourse creates its subject before itself. Discourse is an organized social practice and it carries not only information but also power. Foucault’s discourse analysis starts with the perception that the meaning analysis cannot be centered in one author. Foucault analyzes the text itself rather than its author. (Hekman, 2012: 226)

Foucault believes that “the Classical Age entity of language has both sovereignty and privacy as it undertakes the task and power of words to represent thoughts”. In that age, Foucault argues that “anything unrepresented cannot be certain and language represents thought just as the thought represents itself”. Assumption which is named as “episteme” by Foucault does not separate language from thought. Language is a tool to interpret and if the language was removed, the only thing remains would be the effectiveness is discourse. According to Foucault, the general grammar built by words is the discourse itself but each language is different in discourses. According to Foucault, the engagement of words and things in a common sphere is the privilege of text in practical and linguistic terms. According to him, language turns into a nonerasable concrete form. According to Foucault, things are seen and expressed via words; the language. Foucault argues that language is the representation for Classical Age and the tool to sense-making for Modern Age. In Classical Age, any noise of the mouth was regarded as a letter; in Modern Age however, language is the whole of phonetic components. (Urhan, 128-141)

“Foucault studies on the problem how the relationship between idea and language and the dominating representation in classical age episteme are organized. First of all, the relationship between language and idea is eternal and this is the natural result of the disintegration and irreducibility between language and idea rather than the insufficiency of words.” (Hülür, 2008: 176)

According to Foucault, language signs build up the expression. However, it cannot be said that expressions such as languages exist and they are told do not exist. (Foucault, 2011: 106)

According to Foucault, language is a whole representation. According to him, the investigation of the first signs of language uncovers a representation which is hidden in hearts of words, syllables and sounds and creates their forgotten souls. (Foucault, 2001: 468)

“In opposition to the view of Derrida based on the removal of linguistic borders by endless duplication and the impossibility of a stable meaning, Foucault argues that the linguistic formation is not independent of the power”. (Derrida, 1997: 6, cited by Hülür, 2009: 13)

According to Foucault, discourses are determined by the discoursive rules. In this sense, the relationships between words and things and the explicandum are determined by these rules. Regardless of the conditions which allow words to be uttered and make articulation possible, one cannot comprehend the position of words in information system. (Foucault, 1992: 63, cited by Hülür, 2009: 116).

Discourse and Rhetorical Discourse

The word discourse is originally based on “logos” in Greek and “discursusa” in Latin. According to Çotuksöken (2002: 168), discourse which was used in especially rhetoric and logic terms in Ancient Age is “a behavioral unity which has a theoretic position in linguistics” Discourse is the realization of language”

Actually, discourse is an abstract, affective and imaginary construction process. Ideas and thoughts are built by certain ideological walls. The words, gestures, mimics and tone of voice preferred in language and etc. are the main ideological elements of this construction. Therefore, each discourse is ideological. The language lays ground for the construction of discourse which emerges through the expression of ideas and thoughts subjectively via language and it consists of cultural, social and ideological norms. The language which is the reflection of subjective ideational practices on verbal practices builds up discourse. Aristo believes that language has two forms. The first one is the poetic, artistic and aesthetical discourse and the second one is the rhetoric which is the observation skill to persuade others through existing tools. (Campbell,1972: 15)

Both poetic discourse and rhetoric are the verbalization of languages and thus ideologies just as in social or political contents.

According to Berger (2005:15), everyone speaks through his/her own situation and knowledge; speaking does not require solely verbal expressions. Hairdo, glasses, clothes, mimics and many other elements are the indicators of speaking. Gestures, mimics, tone of voice, style and posture used in expression are important both in discourse and rhetoric. Each of them is practical attitudes of discourse reflected on behaviors.

According to Foucault, seeing is the function of eyes and saying is the function of language. The said thing refers to words or representations. Studying on signifier and discoursive formations, Foucault gives the example of prisons and penal law. According to him, prisons are seen and non- discoursive phenomenons while penal law is a discoursive phenomenon. Hospital is the seen and the knowledge of medicine is discourse. According to Foucault, there is an unrelated relationship between the seen and discourse. Discourse, in fact, is the transformation of the seen. According to Foucault, discourse creates both objects and subjects. “Discourse is the system of possibilities which allow the production of right or wrong expressions”. According to Foucault, there are some spheres which concretize discoursive phenomenon. According to him, “the formation of a discoursive phenomenon generally depends on a broad renewal about objects, explicandum, concepts and strategies.” Named after “Positivity” by Foucault and being the ground of discourse; text, work, science and sphere, style and concepts of discourse invite each other to a discoursive phenomenon. According to Foucault, discoursive phenomena are the science rather than knowledge. They are also the complex integrity as well. In addition, according to Foucault, no discriminative criterion can be applied on discourse. (Urhan, 2000: 15-38)

In “The Order of Discourse”, Foucault blames himself for accepting traditional power perception regarding the addition of discourse phenomenons in power mechanisms and mixing two concepts. He considers power as a legal mechanism which draws its strength from laws. It can be understood that Foucault states that the word punishing is not a legal term but it is related to technology, tactic and strategy because there is an implicit reference to tactical and strategic aspect of discourse and construction of words. (Foucault, 2012: 107)

The comprehension of discourse is regarded as an interpretation, an evaluation practice. If an idea is assumed in discourse, logic evaluates the idea by means of interpretation. “According to Gadamer, the function of “interpretation” is taking offartificial meaning masks and thus uncovering the secret. In other words, for Gadamer, “interpretation” is to reveal the implicit discourse in tradition.” Taking stand from this point, we can say that discourse is actually the interpretation of thoughts. Another important issue to point out regarding discourse is structuralism. In structuralism approach, “social reality is a too big structure to explain by single elements. If one wants to explain a structure, he must analyze the mutual relationship between the components of the system”. In this sense, the structuralism means to focus on human who produces meaning. According to structuralists, language “is a communication tool which creates the symbolic order”. The structuralists believe that there is a structure behind language and accordingly, language is based on a structure and gathers through this structure. Lacan believes that, discourse and thought are the same things. Accordingly, discourse gives character to speech. According to Lacan “subject and language can be explained only through the references of others. The thing which creates personalities and individualities is discourse.” Accordingly, if subject is considered as a production of discourse, discourse analysis “should be based on subject-subject relationships. If we want to explain and comprehend a discourse, we need to penetrate into the world of symbols and signs”. (Özdemir, 2001: 110-111)

According to Hülür (2009:449), “Disciplinary and regulatory discourses and practices which play a vital role in normalizing and taming personalities and bodies are the most important tools of fascist life style.”

In short, discourse is the realization of language while discourse is “discourse produced in accordance with the principles of rhetoric”. Rhetoric discourse is adorned and planned with rhetoric. It also targets at an audience and aims to persuade. Rhetoric discourse includes application, argument, arrangement, desires, motives, adaptation for audience etc. Application is a symbolic method used to create an emotion while argument is a discourse characterized with logic so as to increase the support to conclusion. Arrangement is a planned effect of message for the highest level of persuasion. The adaptation for audience refers to the change in message for someone and aesthetic is the persuasion potential in style, beauty and expression power. (Herrick, 2005: 33-89)

Foucault, Rhetoric, and Parrhesia

According to Aristo (2013: 37) “Rhetoric is the capability of using the existing persuasion ways in a certain situation”. In Classical Age, Rhetoric “is something that determines spatiality of representation of linguistics born with language” (Urhan, 2000:133)

According to Foucault, there are “signifier”, signified” and “bond” concepts in Greek grammar and the sign basically consists of two ideas: the idea of signifier and the idea of signified. It can be understood that the signifier is subject; the signified is object and the bond is message and thus we can say that the sign system is actually rhetoric. Because, rhetoric has a signaler, receiver and message as well. (Urhan, 200: 134)

According to Batý, (Corbett, 1990: 47 cited by Batý, 2010: 106) rhetoric is the most important tool to persuade. “Rhetoric which is basically related to word and style refers to the main interest area of the discipline and the most effective way to transfer the expression.” Rhetoric is an encoding system including usage style, social psychology, language, literature and persuasion etc. and it aims to ensure changes in behavior and attitudes. “Rhetoric structure consists of each type of metaphors such as rhyme, irony and compression.”

The concepts of “Rhetoric” and “Parrhesia” which divide from each other and resembles in some points regarding the rhetoric approach of Foucault are important. Being found in Greek literature for the first time, the “Parrhesia” word is said to be found in texts at the end of 4th century and in Jean Chrysostome during 5th century. The word has three forms being verb form “parrhesiazomai”, nominal form “parrhesia” and adjective “parrhresiastes.” Accordingly, parrhesiazomai refers to telling and explaining truth; parrhesia refers to the utterance of truth, being honest and parrhesiastes refers to the one who tells truth. (Foucault, 2013)

According to Sharpe (2007: 90), parrhesiastes specifically finds an asymmetry between thought and attitudes and thus it aims to affect or persuade the addressee.

Having the meaning of “free speech”, “honesty” and “telling the truth” in Greek literature, Parrhesia is one of the significant analysis fields of Foucault and Foucault argues that rhetoric and parrhesia as two similar concepts are not the same. Because rhetoric is planned while parrhesia is entirely natural. According to Foucault, the first examples of parrhesia in Greek literature are found in six tragedies of Euripides. These six tragedies are Phoenician Women, Hippolytos, Bakkhalar, Electra, Ion and Orestes. Parrhesia frequently attracts attention in dialogs within Ion and Orestes. (Foucault, 2005: 22)

“In addition to being a way of speaking, parrhesia which refers to “a wide range of customized moral practices building relationships between personality, authority and truth” and “slavishness of a sophist, unlimitness of a chatterer and compulsion are separated from persuasion and rhetoric” by Foucault. “Being a direct way of speaking”, parrhesia aims “truth rather than persuasion and entertainment” and conflicts with “slippy and deceptive speech styles of rhetoric”. “Parrhesiastic speech brings a risky character to the confrontation between truth-teller and listener which is a deficit between Foucaultist ‘specialists’ being modern truth tellers. The structure of a such speech uses risk conditions so as to build trust between the participants of a parrhesiastic game.” (le jeuparrhésiastique) (Hülür, 2009: 465)

Parrhesia is a metaphorical way of speech and its etymology originates from masculine pronouns being pan (everything) and verhema (to tell everything) According to Foucault, the use of masculine pronoun in this Greek concept results from the fact that women (slaves, children, foreigners) were underrated in Greek society. According to Foucault, speaker explicitly and exactly indicates that s/he utters her/his own ideas and does not use any rhetoric to hide opinions in parrhesia. Parrhesiastes uses the most direct words and expressions rather than rhetoric. “Rhetoric offers technical tools to help speaker to dominate over the minds of listeners. However in parrhesia, parrhesiastes directly shows what speakers truly believes in while performing activities on the minds of other people. Meanwhile, we need to distinguish the difference between parrhesia and babbling. According to babbling refers to humiliating. Plato states that it is used for those who believes that they have right to say anything to people in bad democratic administration systems. In Christian literature, parrhesia takes place as discipline factor. According to Descartes, “the matching between faith and truth is obtained through the experience of a certain cognitive proof while Greek parrhesia consists of verbal activities.” According to Descartes, parrhesiastes does not require any proof. In Ancient Greece, if a person has moral values, s/he will already guarantees parrhesia. If a proof is required for parrhesiastes, it will be the honesty of the person. According to Foucault, it will be necessary to ask such an honest parrhesiastes about how s/he knows this truth. (Foucault, 2005: 9-13)

“According to Foucault, truth/real is a product of numerous restrictions in this world. It fights for its own status rather than intellectual truth. He defines truth as a totality of rules in which the right divides from the wrong and the concrete effects of the strength of power are attached to the right thing.” (Hekman, 2012: 237)

According to Foucault, the truth teller takes a risk. For example, if a speaker says a mistake of a ruler, s/he will be in danger. Greeks consider the learned things as truth and do not doubt it. However, parrhesia is not defined so by Foucault. According to Foucault, parrhesia has a criticism dimension. Parrhesia is a game between the speaker and listener and the person criticizes both himself/herself and his/her addressee through this game. In parrhesia, criticism is bottom-to-up and thus a teacher who criticizes a child cannot use parrhesia but a child criticizing a teacher can do so. According to Foucault, parrhesia is not only a criticism but also a duty. Parrhesia is the duty and responsibility to tell the truth to those who ignore it. According to Foucault, parrhesia is closely associated with politics. Parrhesia is one of the essential characteristics of Athenian democracy and it is a guideline of citizens on democracy. Citizens used to discuss and talk to each other and had parrhesia in equal conditions in agora where was a public area. Equal right to speech gives opportunity to each citizen for equal participation in the use of power. However, according to Foucault, this situation changed in Hellenistic period. Parrhesia was the center of relationship between ruler and his counselors rather than being one of the relationship spheres between citizens. According to Foucault, parrhesia is a practice which helps the ruler and prevents the misuse of the duty in monarchy. According to Foucault, the place of parrhesia has changed and the truth has moved to palace from agora. (Foucault, 2005: 13-21)

According to Foucault, the relationship between parrhesia and democratic institutions became evident following the War of Peloponnesus and it become a significant topic of discussion. The topic of discussion was: In democracy, everyone was equal; however such an administration is blamed to give equal place to all parrhesia ways including the worst one. Parrhesia gives right to free speech even to the worst citizen and thus bad and ignorant speakers could emerge and this could damage democracy. Moreover, according to Foucault, the concept of citizenship could even turn into tyranny. According to Plato, parrhesia has dangers as well. According to him, the initial danger is related to the fact that “everyone has his/her own life style”. The secondary danger is related to monarchy. Beecause, parrhesia could turn into a personal attitude. Aristo discusses parrhesia with monarchy as well. Philodemosise considers parrhesia not only as a quality, merit but also as a danger that could be confused with both medicine and the art of ship handling. Because, it is hard and dangerous to steer parrhesia. At this point, both theory and practice are required. (Foucault, 2005: 61-87)

Parrhesia has a significant place in philosophy as well. Socrates is honest and joker in his defense. According to Feyerabend, this attitude of Socrates is protective equipment and sends sincerity and honesty to audience and also enables people to comprehend the message better. According to Foucault, there is a parrhesiasates in defense of Socrates due to this attitude (Feyerabend, 2005: 66-93).

In order to analyze parrhesia within the light of “Epicurusist” and “Cynicism” philosophies, we need to start with Epicurusist schools. There two teacher and teaching styles in Epicurusist schools. The first one is a teacher’s address to a group; namely the classroom logic and the other one is personal interview logic in which teacher offers recommendations and formula to members. In these schools, low-level students only give lessons while high-level teachers both give lesson and guide based on recommendations and formula. Epicurusist schools were teaching the truth of an individual as a friend. Therefore, the importance that these schools attach to importance cannot be ignored. Epicurusist teachers tell the truth as parrhesiastes. According to Foucault, mutual confessions were made in groups sometimes in these schools. Another important entity is Cynics where teachings on searching for truth were public-like, spectacular and provocative. Thinking on the basis of body and spirit discipline, Cynics advocate the necessity of a life style which will result in a scandal. Probably the most recognized one of them; Diogenes become very famous with his scandals. As we all know, there is a well-known dialog between Alexander and Diogenes. Once Alexander passes by and everyone stands up. Diogenes keeps sitting and Alexander asks “Don’t you know me? Who am I?” Diogenes replies “You are the prisoner of my prisoner”. Because, according to Diogenes, Alexander kills people for lands but the world for which Alexander kills people is the prisoner of Diogenes and if Alexander is the prisoner of the world, he is actually the slave of Diogenes. Diogenes asks “So who should stand up?” and Alexander just gives a thought to it. In further periods, according to Foucault, significant dialogs are seen between Alexander and Diogenes in terms of parrhesia. Diogenes tries to tarnish the image of Alexander in his speech but Alexander does not get mad at him. Diogenes criticizes the Alexander’s weapon use and tells Alexander “either kill me or learn the truth from me” and then “parrhesia agreement” occurs to protect Diogenes from death. In parrhesia, Socrates seems as ignorant as his addressee while Diogenes first teases and then speaks sincerely. Being affected from the wisdom of Diogenes, Alexander asks Diogenes to teach him state administration. According to Foucault, Cynic parrhesia requires critical preaches, scandalous behaviors and provocative dialogs. Cynic parrhesiastes speaks in high-level areas and generally talks about freedom and self-competency. Aristo does not like Cynics while Greek philosophers call them “dog”. Because the word cynic is originated from the Greek word “Kynikoi” which means dog. (Foucault, 2005: 89-104)

Plutarkhosise thinks on the ways to distinguish real parrhesia and parrhesiastes from a blackslapper. Plutarkhos asks why there is a need for parrhesisates and answers it saying “this need results from the need for a friend and need for self-love”. At this point, Plutarkhos mentions “Philautia” which refers to self-love. According to him, a human want to be flattered to avoid the burden of self-love and needs a parrhesiastes. Plutarkhos makes various suggestions to understand a real parrhesiastes. Accordingly, there should be harmony between behaviors and attitudes of a parrhesiastes. There should be no confliction between attitude and thought. According to Plutarkhos, Seneca and Socrates, parrhesiastes should be well-known friend while Foucault believes that parrhesiastes should be a stranger. Because only a stranger could be objective. According to Foucault, a parrhesiastes does not need to be doctor like Galenos. Parrhesiastes should test. According to Foucault, honesty and reputation of a parrhesiastes is not enough. “Askesis” which refers to self-confrontation, ascetism makes someone be his/her own parrhesiastes. If someone makes heart-searching, s/he will be an internal judge who examines different outcomes without confession. Seneca uses a similar method and names it “purification through dreams”. Serenus who is a friend of Seneca and night watchman of Neron says “Why would I confess to a parrhesiastes” with an interrogator approach and thinks and writes on it for long nights. According to Foucault, Serenus does not make high-level rhetoric but gives place to useful self-talks in his writings. (Foucault, 2005: 105-124).

Conclusion and Evaluation

Discussing the concept of parrhesia within the scope of telling the truth, Foucault regards “rhetoric as the zero floor of parrhesia” and considers that parrhesia is only a practice in parrhesia. However, there is a relationship between parrhesia and rhetoric. According to Foucault, there are some signs which show that some rhetoric users in the early Empire period included parrhesia in rhetoric field in their works. For example, in “Institutio Oratorio” of Quintilianus (IX. Book, II. Chapter) author uses some rhetoric styles to affect audiences emotionally (which he names as “liberaoratoria”; free speech) and according to Foucault, it is actually parrhesia. Therefore, there is a parallel relationship between parrhesia and rhetoric. (Foucault, 2005: 17-18)

In Socrates-Platon tradition, parrhesia and rhetoric are different. While a long and continuous speech is a rhetoric or sophistry tool; a dialog consisting of questions-answers is a parrhesia. Because, rhetoric includes an implicit dictate rather than a dialog. In parrhesia, dialog is the basis of the game. According to Foucault, the conflict between parrhesia and rhetoric could be seen in Phaedrus which is one of the fictional heroes in Letters of Plato. According to Foucault, the matter is “the mind which tells the truth and the mind which is not capable of understand the truth” which refer to speaker and listener. This issue can be clearly seen in Platon’s writings in B.C. IV. century. Questions such as; who tells the truth whom for what purposes or what actually is the thing that was said are very important at this point. In addition, according to parrhesia which refers to telling the truth as rhetoric aims to affect and persuade people, the question of “Why does it have a more negative meaning”? gains importance and the answer of all these questions is actually hidden in style, tool and effects of rhetoric. Because, according to parrhesia; rhetoric is a dictate and expects an action from the addressee. On the other hand, parrhesia is a guide to good and a recommendation and parrhesiastes does not expect anything for himself most of the time and it aims to think for the addressee as a friend. Having received training from many recognized philosophers and declaimers and then leaned to philosophy from “rhetorica” (knowledge of discourse art), Seneca believes that a person can be honest and tell the truth if s/he stops using rhetoric tools.

To conclude, it can be said that parrhesia is one of the styles used in rhetoric and it is not as planned as rhetoric. As parrhesia is completely natural, it does not have any style and according to Foucault, “it is the zero level of rhetoric to intensify feelings.”