Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy, 18:2, 287-310.
Abstract: This paper questions the political implications of the analogy in Plato's 'Gorgias' between philosophical truth and health on the one hand, and rhetoric and corruption on the other. I start with the importance of the parrhesiastes – the political and therapeutic truth-teller - for Michel Foucault's care of the self. I show how Socrates' rhetoric, especially in the form of ventriloquism, infects the text itself, contradicting his claim to be a doctor-like truth-teller. I ask how we account for the effect of the “contaminated” philosophical dialogue on our readerly health. Is the text placebo, vaccine, or virus? All of these options, I argue, complicate Foucault’s prescription for parrhesia, requiring us to think anew the continuing political ramifications of the metaphor of care.