The Sophists of Ancient Greece Essay

The Sophists of Ancient Greece Essay

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The Sophists considered themselves experts in teaching, writing and poetry and would travel throughout Greece, lecturing and selling their services to young men who could afford to pay for higher education in the arts and sciences. Although Sophists came from many European countries, they gained most of their notoriety and recognition in Athens, which was the epicenter of Greek culture during the fifth and fourth century BCE. Because little of their original works survived, the reports and criticisms of other philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle and Socrates are depended on for historical and philosophical accounts of the Sophistic period, but tended to be very harsh concerning their modes and motives. Even thou the Sophists and their views were ridiculed and rejected by classical philosophers, the contributions that were made towards social, ethical and political philosophy, as well as higher education and public debate have had lasting effects though out history and show that the negative views they have endured are seldom deserved.
In the Sophistic period of ancient Greece, the Sophists were the first to charge for their services and would teach whatever their students wanted to learn, so long as they could pay. The studies they taught varied greatly and included philosophy, grammar, languages, oration and rhetoric among others. They were skilled in public debate and were known to argue either side of an issue with equal effectiveness, this is one reason they gained the reputation of being deceptive in their reasoning and it also made many of them successful as judiciary speech writers.
Although there was not a specific ideology that all Sophists shared, they leaned toward Relativism and Empiricism and held the belief that ...

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...evident and remain effective in today’s society and educational system.

Crome, Keith. Lyotard and Greek Thought. Gordonsville, VA: Palgrave Mcmillan, 2004.
Gagarin, Michael. Antiphon the Athenian, Oratory, Law and Justice in the Age of the Sophists. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2002.
Kennedy, George A. Classical Rhetoric and its Christian and Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1999.
Popkin, Richard H, and Avrum Stroll. Philosophy Made Simple, Second Edition, Revised. New York, NY: Broadway Books, 1993.
Rohmann, Chris. A World of Ideas, A Dictionary of Important Theories, Concepts, Beliefs and Thinkers. New York, NY: The Random House Publishing Group, 1999.
Waterfield, Robin. The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and Sophists. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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