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any of a group of Greek philosophers and teachers in the 5th century BC who speculated on a wide range of subjects

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someone whose reasoning is subtle and often specious


References in classic literature ?
For he is exhibited as ignorant of the very elements of dialectics, in which the Sophists have failed to instruct their disciple.
He seems, like Aristophanes, to regard the new opinions, whether of Socrates or the Sophists, as fatal to Athenian greatness.
In the Euthydemus, Socrates himself offered an example of the manner in which the true teacher may draw out the mind of youth; this was in contrast to the quibbling follies of the Sophists.
He makes it clear that he, representing the tradition of historical scholarship and consonant with Socratic ideals, is a partisan of the One, "stability," whereas he believes that modern deconstructive critics follow the Sophists in espousing the Many, "genesis.
Such ambiguity is the dimension of language where rhetoricians, sophists, and poets are most at home, he says, but it threatens the philosophical inquiry into the essence of things, corrupting the ancient distinction between truth and fiction.
In the Sophist Plato castigates two kinds of sophists, pseudo-dialecticians and blustering rhetoricians, while recognizing that there are legitimate practitioners of both dialectic and rhetoric.
of Windsor, Canada) contributes to the rather recent rehabilitation of Sophists, who had a bad reputation since Plato, by examining the methods of sophistic argument as Sophists have used it in their own writings, as it has influenced other schools of philosophy, and as depicted by its critics.
Plato's Socrates scolds the common people and, sometimes, "the sophists," but in order to attract "our intellectuals," certain Sophists (Polus, Thrasymachus) and their customers, the leisured, pro-Spartan youth.
Topics there include Socrates among the sophists, Xenophon's Socrates, Socrates in Plato's dialogues, the examined life, and Socrates and Epictetus.
Palmer claims sophists made use of the Parmenidian assertion that there exists an inability to speak about what is not, clearly a Parmenidian notion, when defending their arbitrary, nihilistic positions.
He begins with the epic verse of Homer and Hesiod, then traces changes through the emergence of a naturalistic worldview in the writings the Presocratic thinkers and the humanistic turn of Socrates and the Sophists, to the fullest and most systematic expression of insights and methodologies in the letters and orations of Isocrates, the dialogues of Plato, and the treatises of Aristotle.
Long has commissioned essays by an international team of scholars on the early Ionian cosmologists, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Melissus, Zeno, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, the atomists, and the sophists.
Among specific topics are fragments and narrative, staging absolute beauty, Helen's scar, Chaucer and the narrative gaps, Helen among the Sophists, form and appearance in the English Faust book, Jo Cliford's Helen, and the Caribbean Helen in Derek Walcott's 1990 Omeros.
Sometimes philosophers appear to be sophists, at other times statesmen, or even, at times, mad.
Volume four in the Blackwell Readings in the History of Philosophy series, this title explores ancient philosophies in nine chronological sections on the Presocratics and Sophists, Xenophon, Plato, Aristotle, Diogenes the Cynic, Epicurus and Epicureanism, Stoics and Stoicism, Skeptics and Skepticism, and Neoplatism.