Wise Ignorance and Socratic Interiority: Recovering a Dialogic Rhetoric
This article argues for the recovery of an interior ignorance from Socrates's life of philosophy as a contribution to recent constructions of dialogic rhetoric. Synthesizing Bakhtin's reading of Socratic contestation with his concept of microdialogue, a view of dialogic rhetoric emerges that combines the testing of ideas and persons with interior conditions of doubt, anxiety, and ambivalence. A reading of Socrates's enactment of an interior/exterior piety in the Apology of Socrates is offered to demonstrate how interior ignorance uncovers the double-voicedness of rhetorical texts. The article counterposes this fuller interior/exterior view of ignorance against exteriorized suspicions directed at the character of Socrates, and the idea of ignorance, in rhetorical and cultural criticism.