Truth is as useful for the moment as it is transcendental. I agree with Sophists and Socrates alike, because it’s rare in life that we find something with such universal properties. Besides science (which is still up for debate for some people), what else is 100% agreed upon. Especially when it comes to philosophy, we are encouraged to think that we don’t know it all.
The outcome and goal of rhetoric not only depend on the receiver, but the rhetorician as well. He can have the intent for deception and omit and create his own truth, or he can speak the absolute truth to his advantage. Either way, the truth is relative. In a vacuum where the receiver doesn’t know otherwise, the truth the rhetorician speaks is the only truth. The spoken truth is the only one that matters.
On the other hand, if the receiver understands the rhetorician’s deceit, the “truth” becomes a weakness. If someone does something illegal but doesn’t get caught, did they really do something illegal? The truth only matters if it’s proven wrong. Socrates has stated in Professor Soto’s Powerpoint, that “the end goal of rhetoric is justice,” but what justice is to one man may not be justice to another. Who decides what is true justice?
According to Plato, truth exists independent of audiences. I can understand that there is an overarching truth, but if the audience doesn’t know about it, their truth is momentary. Rhetoric is not a teacher of right and wrong, but merely a creator of beliefs. This all adds up to me siding more with the sophists than Socrates. I’m not saying there isn’t a transcendental truth, just that it doesn’t always have to be used in rhetoric. Rhetoric implores persuasion, if deceit is the key to persuasion in a circumstance, the truth is not necessary.