How to use Socratics in a sentence
Further, since Socrates and the Socratics were educators, they too might be, and in general were, regarded as sophists; but, as they conceived truth - so far as it was attainable - rather than success in life, in the law court, in the assembly, or in debate, to be the right end of intellectual effort, they were at variance with their rivals, and are commonly ranked by historians, not with the sophists, who confessedly despaired of knowledge, but with the philosophers, who, however unavailingly, continued to seek it.
For, though that celebrated personage would have liked to be called, not " sophist " but " political philosopher," and tried to fasten the name of " sophist " upon his opponents the Socratics, it is clear from his own statement that he was commonly ranked with the sophists, and that he had no claim, except on the score of superior popularity and success, to be dissociated from the other teachers of political rhetoric. It is true that he was not a political sophist of the vulgar type, that as a theorist he was honest and patriotic, and that, in addition to his fame as a teacher, he had a distinct reputation as a man of letters; but he was a professor of political rhetoric, and, as such, in the phraseology of the day, a sophist.
In order to complete this sketch of the development of sophistry in the latter half of the 5th century and the earlier half of the 4th, it is necessary next to take account of Socrates and the Socratics.
The principal characteristics of Socrates's theory of education were accepted, mutatis mutandis, by the leading Socratics.
With these resemblances to the contemporary professors of education, and with these differences, were Socrates and the Socratics sophists or not?Advertisement
Again, as the Socratics - Plato himself, when he established himself at the Academy, being no exception - were, like their master, educators rather than philosophers, and in their teaching laid especial stress upon discussion, they, too, were doubtless regarded as sophists, not by Isocrates only, but by their contemporaries in general; and it may be conjectured that the disputatious tendencies of the Megarian school made it all the more difficult for Plato and others to secure a proper appreciation of the difference between dialectic, or discussion with a view to the discovery of truth, and eristic, or discussion with a view to victory.
Whereas, so long as philosophy was in abeyance Socrates and the Socratics were regarded as sophists of an abnormal sort, as soon as philosophy revived it was dimly perceived that, in so far as Socrates and the Socratics dissented from sophistry, they preserved the philosophical tradition.