Sophists and Sophistry

Kotliar (viomar@ATHENS.NET)
Mon, 29 Apr 1996 09:56:28 -0500

Deus ex Machina (Matthew Joanis) writes that the Sophists were:

>. One who believes in the idea that we can never "know" the truth.
>Also known as the the folks who DO NOT subscribe to Aristotle or
>Plato. The people that Socrates embarrased, etc. etc.

You are reading the propaganda of Plato as history. The Sophists
included a number of excellent thinkers who contributed to the development
of the sciences as much as did Aristotle. Plato sets up the Sophist
"characters" to be foils of Socrates. Some of the sophists were known for
making specious arguments, but one should not malign the entire group.
My spin on Science and truth is the idea that "knowable" truth is
referential to a p.o.v.(as in Einstein's Relativity) and that scientific
"truths" are only our best approximation of a reality external to
ourselves. I believe Science's premise is that there is an objective Truth
and we can strive to know it, rather than there is a knowable Truth. If
that is sophistry, sophistry sounds pretty good to me. I say if you need
to have knowable truths seek Religion rather than Science.

J. Kotliar
Veni, Vidi, E-lorici