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Who were they :

  • A group of philosophers who travelled from polis to polis.

  • Taught math , science & history.

Did not believe the gods influenced human action.

  • Accepted money for their teaching.

  • Other greek philosophers did not approve of this practice.

The most famous representatives of the sophistic movement are Protagoras, Gorgias, Antiphon, Hippias, Prodicus and Thrasymachus.

Sophists were ancient Greek philosophers and educators who flourished in the 5th century BCE. Protagoras, Gorgias, and Prodicus are among the notable sophists. They were skilled in rhetoric, the art of persuasive speaking, and claimed to teach the skills necessary for success in public and political life.

Unlike some philosophers who sought objective truths, sophists often emphasized the relativity of knowledge, arguing that truth could vary from person to person. Protagoras famously stated, "Man is the measure of all things," suggesting that individuals determine their own truth based on personal experiences and perspectives.

Sophists played a crucial role in Athens, offering education to those aspiring to engage in politics and public discourse. They taught techniques for effective communication, which could be used to sway opinions and win debates. However, their teachings were sometimes criticized for fostering a cynical view of truth, as they seemed to prioritize persuasion over a search for objective reality.

Socrates, a contemporary of the sophists, criticized their relativistic approach. He sought universal truths through dialogue and questioning, challenging the sophists' claims. The debate between Socrates and the sophists contributed to the development of Western philosophical thought, highlighting the ongoing tension between relativism and the pursuit of objective knowledge.


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