In Guatemala, as in other parts of Central America (q.v.), each of the three climatic zones, cold, temperate and hot (Berra fria, tierra templada, tierra caliente) has its special charac' eristics, and it is not easy to generalize about the climate of the country as a whole.
In this polymath we see at once the degradation of the sophistry of culture and the link which connects Protagoras and Prodicus with the eristics, who at a later period taught, not, like Hippias, all branches of learning, but a universally applicable method of disputation.
Now skill in disputation is plainly a valuable accomplishment; and, as the Aristotelian logic grew out of the regulated discussions of the eristics and their pupils, the disputant sophistry of the 4th century deserves more attention and.
The Socratics) dialectic; (3) that the differences between the different groups of sophists were not inconsiderable, and that in particular the teaching of the rhetoricians was distinct in origin, and, in so far as its aim was success in a special walk of life, distinct in character, from the more general teaching of the sophists of culture, the eristics, and the dialecticians, while the teaching of the dialecticians was discriminated from that of the rest, in so far as the aim of the dialecticians was truth, or at least the bettering of opinion; and, consequently, (4) that, in awarding praise and blame to sophistry and its representatives, the distinctive characteristics of the groups above enumerated must be studiously kept in view.
There is less to be said for the teachers of rhetoric, politics and eristic, who, in limiting themselves each to a single subject - the rhetoricians proper or forensic rhetoricians to one branch of oratory, the politicians or political rhetoricians to another, and the eristics to disputation - ceased to be educators and became instructors.
Overlooking the differences which separated the humanists from the eristics, and both of these from the rhetoricians, and taking no account of Socrates, whom they regarded as a philosopher, they forgot the services which Protagoras and Prodicus, Gorgias and Isocrates had rendered to education and to literature, and included the whole profession in an indiscriminate and contemptuous censure.
Neither were they united by a common educational method, the end and the instruments of education being diversely conceived by Protagoras, Gorgias and Isocrates, to say nothing of the wider differences which separate these three from the eristics, and all the four normal types from the abnormal type represented by Socrates.
But the question still remains - Was the education provided by Protagoras, by Gorgias, by Isocrates, by the eristics and by Socrates, good, bad or indifferent?
Excellent as a statement of the aim and method of Isocrates, and tolerable as a statement of those of Gorgias, these phrases are inexact if applied to Protagoras, who, making " civic virtue " his aim, regarded statesmanship and administration as parts of " civic virtue ", and consequently assigned to oratory no more than a subordinate place in his programme, while to the eristics - whose existence is attested not only by Plato, but also by Isocrates and Aristotle - and to Socrates - whom Grote himself accounts a sophist - the description is plainly and palpably inappropriate.
But he cannot allow either that the Megarians and the Cynics were the only eristics, or that eristical sophistry began with Socrates.
But more than this: whereas in the nomenclature of Plato's contemporaries Protagoras, Gorgias, Socrates, Dionysodorus and Isocrates were all of them sophists, Plato himself, in his careful investigation summarized above, limits the meaning of the term so that it shall include the humanists and the eristics only.