A History of Greek Philosophy, Volume 3, Part 1: The by W. K. C. Guthrie

By W. K. C. Guthrie

The 3rd quantity of Professor Guthrie's nice heritage of Greek suggestion, entitled The Fifth-Century Enlightenment, offers in components with the Sophists and Socrates, the foremost figures within the dramatic and basic shift of philosophical curiosity from the actual universe to guy. every one of those elements is now to be had as a paperback with the textual content, bibliography and indexes amended the place priceless in order that every one half is self-contained. The Sophists assesses the contribution of people like Protagoras, Gorgias and Hippias to the intense highbrow and ethical fermant in fifth-century Athens. They wondered the bases of morality, faith and arranged society itself and the character of information and language; they initiated a complete sequence of significant and carrying on with debates, and so they provoked Socrates and Plato to an enormous restatement and defence of conventional values.

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Formerly the subjects had been poems, especially epic poems, and, although b y the fifth century the public reading of prose authors was also common, the elaborate epideictic rhetoric of the Sophists, when performed at the Olympian or Pythian games, aimed at something further. It was (and this is the second point) agonistic, competing for prizes in set contests as did the poets, musicians and athletes. Hippias speaks of 'entering the lists' (άγωνί^εσθαι) at Olympia and being unbeaten (Hipp. Min.

T h e degeneration resembles that o f the English ' t e r r i b l y ' or ' a w f u l l y ' . It is amusingly illustrated in P l a t o , Prot. 341 a - b , w h e r e Socrates tells h o w the purist Prodicus rebukes h i m for using deinos as a term o f praise, calling Protagoras 'deinos and sophos', ' a w f u l l y c l e v e r ' . Deinos, said Prodicus, properly applies to evils like disease, war, p o v e r t y . 3 2 ' Demotes' and the Sophists 1 by Kratos as a duller sophistes than Zeus. ' Sophocles was an exact contemporary of Protagoras, and in him the word could have been coloured b y the appearance on the scene of Sophists as a professional class.

52) in saying that Plato is ' t h e man w h o b y his attacks o n the " S o p h i s t s " created the bad associations connected w i t h the w o r d ' . ) A fairer statement is H a v e l o c k ' s {Lib. Temper, i;8): ' T h e p l a y ­ w r i g h t s o f O l d C o m e d y played u p o n the prejudice [against intellectualism], if they indeed did not create it, and w h e n Plato uses the w o r d sophistes it has lost its dignity. ' In Timarch. 1 7 3 . It w a s in the same speech that Aeschines called D e m o s t h e n e s a sophist.

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