The Sophists Continued
• The Sophists are depicted the ‘other’ of philosophy. The other is a condition of
being secondary. Plato considered them dangerous because of their
commonalities: earned a living by charging fees, and they rejected the notion of
the common good or universal morality/definition of justice (in Athens).
• Many argue that justice is defined by the elites of society. These relativists’
notions of justice put forward by the Sophists were very controversial.
• Contemporary theorists suggest that language cannot reach universal truth, but
that we are caught up in a mixed power struggle – this is why rhetoric and use of
language is so value. Plato detested this idea – for him, justice is universal and
• Lyotard implies that we have lost the ability to listen to grand, worldwide
Who was Socrates?
• According to Plato, Socrates was the patron saint of philosophy. He brought
philosophy into the marketplace.
• How did he pursue his wisdom/knowledge? By what means?
o Wandered amongst the people, using Socratic questioning – he would
crossexamine to critique moral and claims to knowledge.
o There is a value for critique, even if nothing positive comes of it.
The Apology Analysis
• The Apology is rooted in the Greek word Apologia, meaning “defense”.
• Athenians accused the Sophists as being guilty of corrupting morals, and saw
Socrates as a Sophist (he wasn’t).
• The burden of proof was on the accused.
• Socrates offers 2 defenses:
o First: Defends himself against his reputati