Reading the Phaedrus through Levinas's ethics for the other, I argue that the dialogic rupture in the Phaedrus offers an ethical imperative for rhetoric to respect alterity. Following James Kastely, I suggest that attempts to create a unified understanding of the dialogues within the Phaedrus miss the way in which the thematic discontinuity of the text functions philosophically and performatively. This rupture, I posit, signifies an ethical stance toward alterity that forgoes the possibility of violence and respects plurality. Such an ethical stance offers an imperative for a rhetorical ethic of listening in dialogue and suggests that rhetorical scholars return to Plato as a valuable resource for theorizing rhetorical ethics.

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