Sophist Sentence Examples
Carneades, practically a 5th-century sophist, is the most important of the ancient sceptics.
As a pupil of the sophist Prodicus he acquired facility in public speaking.
When the servile Athenians, feigning to share the emperor's displeasure with the sophist, pulled down a statue which they had erected to him, Favorinus remarked that if only Socrates also had had a statue at Athens, he might have been spared the hemlock.
This work is imitated by the third Philostratus (or by some later sophist) of whose descriptions of pictures 17 remain.
The chief difficulty is the reference to a certain sophist, Dionysius, but this is probably an interpolation.Advertisement
The philosopher, as he says, investigates truth; the sophist embellishes it, and takes it for granted.
Another Aspasius, in the 3rd century A.D., was a Roman sophist and rhetorician, son or pupil of the rhetorician Demetrianus.
Hence Plato in the Sophist describes the Megarians as "the friends of ideas."
Several years after the death of Socrates the sophist Polycrates composed a declamation against him, to which Lysias replied.
At the school of Libanius the sophist he gave early indications of his mental powers, and would have been the successor of his heathen master, had he not been stolen away, to use the expression of his teacher, to a life of piety (like Augustine, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Theodoret) by the influence of his pious mother Anthusa.Advertisement
The sophist of whom the Platonic Protagoras is here thinking was Hippias of Elis, who gave popular lectures, not only upon the four subjects just mentioned, but also upon grammar, mythology, family history, archaeology, Homerology and the education of youth.
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.
It is certain that Socrates's contemporaries regarded him as a sophist; and it was only reasonable that they should so regard him, because in opposition to the physicists of the past and the artists of the present he asserted the claims of higher education.
Nor is it possible to accept the statements that " the splendid genius, the lasting influence, and the reiterated polemics of Plato have stamped the name sophist upon the men against whom he wrote as if it were their recognized, legitimate and peculiar designation," and that " Plato not only stole the name out of general circulation,.
That he should do so was only natural, since his position as a teacher of rhetoric was already secure when Protagoras made his first appearance in the character of a sophist; and, as Protagoras, Prodicus and the rest of the sophists of culture offered a comprehensive education, of which oratory formed only a part, whilst Gorgias made no pretence of teaching " civic excellence " (Plato, Meno, 95 C), and found a substitute for philosophy, not in literature generally, but in the professional study of rhetoric alone, it would have been convenient if the distinction between sophistry and rhetoric had been maintained.Advertisement
But, though according to the phraseology of the time he was a sophist, he was not a typical sophist - his principle that, while scientific truth is unattainable by man, right opinion is the only basis of right action, clearly differentiating him from all the other professors of " virtue."
The sophist seemed to his youthful hearers to open a new field of intellectual activity and thereby to add a fresh zest to existence.
The lively enthusiasm and the furious opposition which greeted Protagoras had now burnt themselves out, and before long the sophist was treated by the man of the world as a harmless, necessary pedagogue.
That sophistry must be studied in its historical development was clearly seen by Plato, whose dialogue called the Sophist contains a formal review of the changing phases and aspects of sophistical teaching.
The subject which is discussed in that dialogue and its successor, the Statesman, being the question " Are sophist, statesman, and philosopher identical or different?Advertisement
It is clear that the final definition is preferred, not because of any intrinsic superiority, but because it has a direct bearing upon the question " Are sophist, statesman and philosopher identical or different?
Thus the first and second definitions represent the founders of the sophistry of culture, Protagoras and Prodicus, from the respective points of view of the older Athenians, who disliked the new culture, and the younger Athenians, who admired it; the third and fourth definitions represent imitators to whom the note of itinerancy was not applicable; the fifth definition represents the earlier eristics, contemporaries of Socrates, whom it was necessary to distinguish from the teachers of forensic oratory; the sixth is framed to meet the anomalous case of Socrates, in whom many saw the typical sophist, though Plato conceives this view to be unfortunate; and the seventh and final definition, having in view eristical sophistry fully developed, distinguishes it from SfµoXoyuci, i.e.
It may have been that the sophists' preference of seeming to reality, of success to truth, had a mischievous effect upon the morality of the time; but it is clear that they had no common theory of ethics, and there is no warrant for the assumption that a sophist, as such, specially interested himself in ethical questions.
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.
Now this view is inconsistent with the evidence of Plato, who, in the Sophist, in his final and operative definition, gives prominence to the eristical element, and plainly accounts it the main characteristic not indeed of the sophistry of the 5th century, but of the sophistry of the 4th.Advertisement
It must be presumed, then, that, in virtue of his general suspicions of the Platonic testimony, Grote in this matter leaves the Sophist out of account.
In particular he allows that " there was at any rate enough of charlatanism in Protagoras and Hippias to prevent any ardour for their historical reputation," that the sophists generally " had in their lifetime more success than they deserved," that it was " antagonism to their teaching which developed the genius of Socrates," and, above all, that, " in his anxiety to do justice to the Sophist, Grote laid more stress than is at all necessary on the partisanship of Plato."
The sophist Protagoras had distinguished various kinds of sentences, and Plato had divided the sentence into noun and verb, signifying a thing and the action of a thing.
Distinguished humanists might sneer at him as "a garrulous sophist"; but from this time his ambition was not only to be the greatest scientific authority in Germany but also the champion of the papacy and of the traditional church order.
He attached himself first to a brahmin sophist named Alara, and afterwards to another named Udraka, from whom he learnt all that Indian philosophy had then to teach.
To say that the Platonism of Plato's later years, the Platonism of the Parmenides, the Philebus and the Timaeus, is the philosophy of Parmenides enlarged and reconstituted, may perhaps seem paradoxical in the face of the severe criticism to which Eleaticism is subjected, not only in the Parmenides, but also in the Sophist.
We carefully defined the sophist in terms of many of his activities but none of those makes him what he is.
We have had the sophist who defends idleness, and calls it art.
The sophist Favorinus was more politic; when reproached for yielding too readily to the emperor in some grammatical discussion, he replied that it was unwise to contradict the master of thirty legions.
In this way he is led to regard the sophist successively - (t) as a practitioner of that branch of mercenary persuasion in private which professes to impart " virtue " and exacts payment in the shape of a fee, in opposition to the flatterer who offers pleasure, asking for sustenance in return; (2) as a practitioner of that branch of mental trading which purveys from city to city discourses and lessons about " virtue," in opposition to the artist who similarly purveys discourses and lessons about the arts; (3) and (4) as a practitioner of those branches of mental trading, retail and wholesale, which purvey discourses and lessons about " virtue " within a city, in opposition to the artists who similarly purvey discourses and lessons about the arts; (5) as a practitioner of that branch of eristic which brings to the professor pecuniary emolument, eristic being the systematic form of antilogic, and dealing with justice, injustice and other abstractions, and antilogic being that form of disputation which uses question and answer in private, in opposition to forensic, which uses continuous discourse in the law-courts; (6) as a practitioner of that branch of education which purges away the vain conceit of wisdom by means of crossexamination, in opposition to the traditional method of reproof or admonition.
These definitions being thus various, the Eleate notes that the sophist, in consideration of a fee, disputes, and teaches others to dispute, about things divine, cosmical, metaphysical, legal, political, technical - in fact, about everything - not having knowledge of them, because universal knowledge is unattainable; after which he is in a position to define the sophist (7) as a conscious impostor who, in private, by discontinuous discourse, compels his interlocutor to contradict himself, in opposition to the Sn,uoXoyucos, who, in public, by continuous discourse, imposes upon crowds.
That this defect was serious was dimly apprehended even by those who frequented and admired the lectures of the earlier sophists; that it was fatal was clearly seen by Socrates, who, himself commonly regarded as a sophist, emphatically reprehended, not only the taking of fees, which was after all a mere incident, objectionable because it seemed to preclude independence of thought, but also the fundamental disregard of truth which infected every part and every phase of sophistical teaching.
At the same time, in opposition to Grote, he maintains that the appearance of the sophists marked a new departure, in so far as they were the first professors of " higher education " as such; that they agreed in the rejection of " philosophy "; that the education which they severally gave was open to criticism, inasmuch as, with the exception of Socrates, they attached too much importance to the form, too little to the matter, of their discourses and arguments; that humanism, rhetoric, politic and disputation were characteristic not of all sophists collectively, but of sections of the profession; that Plato was not the first to give a special meaning to the term " sophist " and to affix it upon the professors of education; and, finally, that Plato's evidence is in all essentials trustworthy.
Thus, in the Parmenides, with the paradox of likeness and unlikeness for his text, he inquires how far the cur14nt theories of being (his own included) are capable of providing, not only for knowledge, but also for predication, and in the concluding sentence he suggests that, as likeness and unlikeness, greatness and smallness, &c., are relations, the initial paradox is no longer paradoxical; while in the Sophist, Zeno's doctrine having been shown to be fatal to reason, thought, speech and utterance, the mutual Koevwvia of Elan which are not abra KaO' abra is elaborately demonstrated.
The Platonic testimony, if it proved anything, would prove too much, namely, that the doctrine of the unity of Being originated, not with Xenophanes, but before him; and, in fact, the passage from the Sophist no more proves that Plato attributed to Xenophanes the philosophy of Parmenides than Theaetetus, 160 D, proves that Plato attributed to Homer the philosophy of Heraclitus.
Philo describes him in the Life of Moses as a great magician; elsewhere 8 he speaks of "the sophist Balaam, being," i.e.
It remained for Spengel to entitle the work Anaximenis Ars Rhetorica in his edition of 1847, and thus substitute for the name of the philosopher Aristotle that of the sophist Anaximenes on his title-page.
The point of Aristotle was to draw a line between rational and other evidences, to insist on the former, and in fact to found a logic of rhetoric. But if in the Rhetoric to Alexander, not he, but Anaximenes, had already performed this great achievement, Aristotle would have been the meanest of mankind; for the logic of rhetoric would have been really the work of Anaximenes the sophist, but falsely claimed by Aristotle the philosopher.
He means that the logical analysis of demonstration in the Analytics would teach them beforehand that there cannot be demonstration, though there must be induction, of an axiom, or any other principle; whereas, if they are not logically prepared for metaphysics, they will expect a demonstration of the axiom, as Heraclitus, the Heraclitean Cratylus and the Sophist Protagoras actually did, - and in vain.
The wandering sophist and rhetorician would find a hearing no less than the musical artist.
It was Favorinus who, on being silenced by Hadrian in an argument in which the sophist might easily have refuted his adversary, subsequently explained that it was foolish to criticize the logic of the master of thirty legions.