Yep… you read that headline correctly.
Well, first it’s helpful to talk a bit about those other two guys who came before and after Plato — Socrates and Aristotle.
Socrates pretty much gets credit for laying the foundation of Western philosophy. He devoted his life to teaching, and did so by what became known as the Socratic Method.
Socrates examined moral concepts by answering a student’s question by posing another question in return. In this way, Socrates fueled a continuing dialogue designed to allow his students to discover answers for themselves.
In other words, he was all about the conversation.
In contrast, Aristotle was all about authored content. He knew how to present compelling-structured stories that took the reader from Point A to Point B by engaging the emotions. His philosophy was that one can effectively teach and persuade through the art of rhetoric alone.
Contrary to Socrates, Aristotle might utilize rhetorical questions. His style was to use queries not to illicit an answer from the reader, but rather to make a powerful point.
Plato was the middle child. Because Socrates apparently never wrote down his teachings, much of what we know about him comes from Plato’s writings, which were most often in the form of dialogues.
Early on, these dialogues were structured in true Socratic fashion, and often featured conversations between Plato and his mentor. Later on, these dialogues turned to conversations in format only, and became more about what Plato wanted to emphasize rather than a recording of a true Socratic conversation.
This led to what’s known as the Socratic Problem. How much of what Plato wrote can be viewed as the actual teachings of Socrates, as opposed to a literary device designed to persuade the reader to accept Plato’s point of view?
Plato understood the power of conversation, but his methods made people doubt his authenticity.
In my opinion, you’ve got to provide strong, persuasive content like Aristotle to be an effective business blogger. But you’ve also got to have a healthy dose of Socrates in you, because the conversation is where the true power of blogging is.
As for Plato, well, let me ask you a question.
Given what you know about the swarming pile-on nature of the blogosphere, what do you think might happen if someone is discovered trying to manipulate the conversation through nefarious marketing and public relations techniques?
Whoops, sorry . . . I guess that’s actually a rhetorical question.
But I would like to talk with you more about it. 🙂