Socrates: Education and Sophists Essay

Submitted By cheyennemae52
Words: 724
Pages: 3

Sophistry and Socrates When talking about the Sophists and Socrates, there are some key similarities, as well as differences. Both the Sophists and Socrates had interests in human affairs and rhetoric. But the differences are a longer list including; pay, curriculum, rhetoric versus dialectic, motive, and attitude. The Sophists and Socrates both educated those willing to learn, but in very different ways and for different reasons. The Sophists can be thought of as some of the first teachers of the time. They taught their students what they desired to know and were paid for it, they promised political and personal success. The Sophists strategy was to teach their students how to make the weaker argument the stronger argument, known as “opposed logoi”. As you can imagine, this became very popular in the political world and with lawyers because they were able to persuade anyone into whatever argument they wanted. It allowed people to make the wrong, or the weaker, sound right and strong and led to a sort of self-advantage for anyone who was educated by these Sophists whenever they came about a situation in which they had to win someone over. An interesting example of this is Protagoras’ method of education. A law student came to him and told him that he wanted to learn how to make his case look like the stronger so he could win, but the student had no money to pay Protagoras. So they agreed on making a deal in that once the student won his first case, he would pay Protagoras. Protagoras educated the student and once the teaching was done, he proceeded to sue the student, claiming that he hadn’t paid for his education. So when you break the case results, if the student won, he would have to pay Protagoras because that was the agreement. And even if the student lost the case, then the law would be against him, and he would still have to pay Protagoras. So maybe this was Protagoras’ way of giving his student a final exam of technical Rhetoric, showing him how to make any argument go in his desired direction. The Sophist’s attitudes of their teachings were subjectivism, relativism, and skepticism; these seem to go along with their method pretty well. The “right” side can change depending on the situation with them, because their objective is to make the weaker argument the stronger and persuade people with it. Sophists taught their students to adapt to whatever society they found (Melchert, 2011 page 49). Socrates on the other hand, never referred to himself as a teacher and he never received any pay for his lessons. Socrates didn’t refer to his methods as teachings because he didn’t get paid and the structure of his lessons weren’t the traditional way of teachings. It was more a question and answer based method, known as Dialectic, a philosophical