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Le Sophiste (Oeuvres Completes: Tome VIII, 3e Partie)

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Ces trois textes appartiennent aux « dialogues métaphoriques » du corpus platonicien et font de Platon un des premiers « historiens de la philosophie ». En effet ces trois dialogues, fictifs, sont une étude des oppositions foncières de la pensée sous forme d'histoire synoptique de la philosophie. Les physiciens pluralistes Ionie, Socrate, les Eléates, les tenants d’Héracli Ces trois textes appartiennent aux « dialogues métaphoriques » du corpus platonicien et font de Platon un des premiers « historiens de la philosophie ». En effet ces trois dialogues, fictifs, sont une étude des oppositions foncières de la pensée sous forme d'histoire synoptique de la philosophie. Les physiciens pluralistes Ionie, Socrate, les Eléates, les tenants d’Héraclite et ceux du matérialisme, tous les grands courants de la philosophie se rencontrent, dialoguent et s’affrontent dans ces trois textes, véritable condensé de la pensée grecque. Outre par la profondeur philosophique de ces traités, le lecteur est subjugué par la richesse, l’humour et la finesse de ces trois dialogues qui révèlent un Platon autant penseur que poète. Notre édition rassemble en trois volumes Parménide, Théétète et Le Sophiste. Le premier volume comporte une riche notice proposant une analyse détaillée des dialogues et de leur réception tant dans l’Antiquité que par la critique contemporaine. Chaque traité est en outre précédé d’une notice qui lui est propre. Celle-ci donne toutes les informations, historiques et philosophiques, nécessaires à la bonne intelligence du texte. La composition du dialogue et les personnages font l’objet d’une étude éclairante, tandis que de judicieuses pistes de lecture sont proposées. L’histoire des manuscrits est brièvement relatée. Des notes accompagnent la lecture et sont développées, pour Théétète, par des notes complémentaires.


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Ces trois textes appartiennent aux « dialogues métaphoriques » du corpus platonicien et font de Platon un des premiers « historiens de la philosophie ». En effet ces trois dialogues, fictifs, sont une étude des oppositions foncières de la pensée sous forme d'histoire synoptique de la philosophie. Les physiciens pluralistes Ionie, Socrate, les Eléates, les tenants d’Héracli Ces trois textes appartiennent aux « dialogues métaphoriques » du corpus platonicien et font de Platon un des premiers « historiens de la philosophie ». En effet ces trois dialogues, fictifs, sont une étude des oppositions foncières de la pensée sous forme d'histoire synoptique de la philosophie. Les physiciens pluralistes Ionie, Socrate, les Eléates, les tenants d’Héraclite et ceux du matérialisme, tous les grands courants de la philosophie se rencontrent, dialoguent et s’affrontent dans ces trois textes, véritable condensé de la pensée grecque. Outre par la profondeur philosophique de ces traités, le lecteur est subjugué par la richesse, l’humour et la finesse de ces trois dialogues qui révèlent un Platon autant penseur que poète. Notre édition rassemble en trois volumes Parménide, Théétète et Le Sophiste. Le premier volume comporte une riche notice proposant une analyse détaillée des dialogues et de leur réception tant dans l’Antiquité que par la critique contemporaine. Chaque traité est en outre précédé d’une notice qui lui est propre. Celle-ci donne toutes les informations, historiques et philosophiques, nécessaires à la bonne intelligence du texte. La composition du dialogue et les personnages font l’objet d’une étude éclairante, tandis que de judicieuses pistes de lecture sont proposées. L’histoire des manuscrits est brièvement relatée. Des notes accompagnent la lecture et sont développées, pour Théétète, par des notes complémentaires.

30 review for Le Sophiste (Oeuvres Completes: Tome VIII, 3e Partie)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Warnock

    By the middle of the book here's what I really wanted to see happen: --- STRANGER: There are some who imitate, knowing what they imitate, and some who do not know. And what line of distinction can there possibly be greater than that which divides ignorance from knowledge? THEAETETUS: There can be no greater. STRANGER: Was not the sort of imitation of which we spoke just now the imitation of those who know? For he who would imitate you would surely< By the middle of the book here's what I really wanted to see happen: --- STRANGER: There are some who imitate, knowing what they imitate, and some who do not know. And what line of distinction can there possibly be greater than that which divides ignorance from knowledge? THEAETETUS: There can be no greater. STRANGER: Was not the sort of imitation of which we spoke just now the imitation of those who know? For he who would imitate you would surely know you and your figure? THEAETETUS: Naturally. STRANGER: And what would you say of the figure or form of justice or of virtue in general? Are we not well aware that many, having no knowledge of either, but only a sort of opinion, do their best to show that this opinion is really entertained by them, by expressing it, as far as they can, in word and deed? *PUNCH* STRANGER: OW! STRANGER: ... STRANGER: Did you just punch me in the face? THEAETETUS: Yes, in the nose. STRANGER: That REALLY hurt! THEAETETUS: Sorry, but I had a justified true belief that punching you in the face would finally make this interesting. I've been saying "yes", and "very true" for over an hour now and you haven't communicated anything of testable value. You've assumed a definition of knowledge and seem to be under the impression that through deduction you can arrive at an absolute truth that would somehow settle all further inquiry. You've provided not a single conjecture that I, or anyone listening, could ever evaluate, test, or even attempt to falsify. STRANGER: AGH, my nose is bleeding... THEAETETUS: You're right, that was uncalled for. Please, go on using sophistry to tell me why sophistry is bad. --- But that never happened. Here's something fun, filter out everything Theaetetus says, it goes like this, ... THEAETETUS: Yes. THEAETETUS: True. THEAETETUS: Certainly. THEAETETUS: True. THEAETETUS: What do you mean, and how do you distinguish them? THEAETETUS: Very true. THEAETETUS: True. THEAETETUS: Yes. THEAETETUS: Yes, it is often called so. THEAETETUS: By all means. THEAETETUS: True. THEAETETUS: True. THEAETETUS: Most true. THEAETETUS: Certainly. THEAETETUS: To be sure. THEAETETUS: True. THEAETETUS: Granted. THEAETETUS: Very true THEAETETUS: There are certainly the two kinds which you describe. THEAETETUS: Very good. THEAETETUS: By all means. THEAETETUS: Undoubtedly. ... And so on for the entire dialogue. Perhaps out of boredom, or perhaps trying to distract myself from hoping the stranger gets punched in the face, I wondered if every "True" and "Very true" could be deciphered as some kind of code or riddle-- maybe there is a hidden message encoded in repetitive affirmations. Or maybe I'm just desperately looking for something of value in this text... Anyway, this is not a dialogue (as we use the word), but instead a diatribe against sophists; ironically characterizing "sophists" for doing exactly what Plato, as the "stranger", was doing via this dialectic approach. At one point I had to stop because I thought maybe I was reading a farcical comedy. I kept an open mind, but every page became harder and harder to get through. Hours of dialectic-glop and semantic entanglements. I'll assume some of that was a problem of translation, but still, a punch in the face would have made the whole thing much more interesting.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Luís C.

    Being and Non-Being Plato begins his dialogue with the purpose of defining what is the sophist. In its various partial investigations, I believe that all of the most important is that the accounts of the nature of the "non-being". Contrary to what we can intuit the "non-being" is not necessarily the opposite of "being", but only something other than "being". In my view, this is the central argument that allows the philosopher continue and correctly complete their investigation into the being of the sophist. Lis Being and Non-Being Plato begins his dialogue with the purpose of defining what is the sophist. In its various partial investigations, I believe that all of the most important is that the accounts of the nature of the "non-being". Contrary to what we can intuit the "non-being" is not necessarily the opposite of "being", but only something other than "being". In my view, this is the central argument that allows the philosopher continue and correctly complete their investigation into the being of the sophist. Lisbon Book-Fair 2016.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Sophist is one of the few Platonic dialogues which don’t have Socrates as the main character (all are from the late period). This seems to offer Plato some advantages, especially for this book’s purposes. Using the Eleatic Visitor as the main speaker allows Plato to make sustained arguments consisting of series of positive statements as opposed to the Socratic character’s standard approach, claiming to know nothing and play the midwife of others’ thoughts – asking questions, testing answers, usu Sophist is one of the few Platonic dialogues which don’t have Socrates as the main character (all are from the late period). This seems to offer Plato some advantages, especially for this book’s purposes. Using the Eleatic Visitor as the main speaker allows Plato to make sustained arguments consisting of series of positive statements as opposed to the Socratic character’s standard approach, claiming to know nothing and play the midwife of others’ thoughts – asking questions, testing answers, usually showing their inadequacy, and typically ending inconclusively. Arguably Plato could have used Socrates the same way he used the Visitor, but that would have been odd as Socrates is the main speaker in the Theaetetus, Sophist’s predecessor in a trilogy, in which Socrates is true to his old form. Sophist is an attack on Plato’s adversaries, the sophists, and on some of their most important (and to Plato, very dangerous) word or logic puzzles. His animus towards sophists, and towards poets, might seem excessive, but we should remember that he saw both as educators offering falsehoods, in some cases in the guise of truth and in others with a relativistic view of truth. And this was at a time when disinterested, rational investigation into truth was new and insecure. For some it was seen as impious, probably for others a potential threat to society and the state. Another danger that seems to have been quite real was the conflating of philosophy and sophistry (as we see in Aristophanes’ Clouds, and as Plato’s Apology seems to suggest, though in reality they were perhaps less distinct than Plato might have us believe). Regarding at least some sophists, the main issue was the reality and importance of truth and the importance of pursuing truth regardless of outcome as opposed to developing and teaching skill in persuasion regardless of truth. The sophists’ puzzles posed serious problems for Plato, causing fundamental aspects of existence (being and non-being, rest and motion, one and many, etc.) to appear hopelessly mired in contradictions and confusions, leading among other things to relativism about truth and morality. Primary among these problems was confusion about being (i.e. the word “is”) and manipulation of the confusion of “is” as denoting existence with its denoting a thing’s having particular qualities. With this difference long clear to us, it’s hard to understand how the brightest minds in ancient Greece were stumped by it, but it was a major problem that Plato seems to have effectively clarified in Sophist. Another main problem in sophistical arguments was the equation of “not being x” with “being the opposite of x.” Plato pretty effectively clarifies that “not” indicates difference but not necessarily contrariety. He also, very importantly, believes he establishes that we can talk about things that don’t exist without necessarily contradicting ourselves. I’m not sure he established this in a way that would decisively undermine the sophists, but this issue was central to Plato’s problem with them. Some sophists claimed there couldn’t be false belief or speech because no one could think or say “that which is not” since “that which is not” has no share in “being” (this picks up an issue from the Theaetetus, while Sophist in general is largely directed against Parmenides, with some mostly indirect connection to the dialogue named after him). We might say that Plato demonstrated, or believed he demonstrated, that at least some things which don’t exist (e.g. things that are false) are nevertheless available to thought and speech. Another main issue Plato tackles, also without the greatest clarity, is that qualities (possibly the Forms or Ideas from his earlier works) can blend with each other (this revisits a central problem from the Parmenides, at least if we take it as dealing with the Forms). He doesn’t provide much of an account of how this works, but in a proto-Aristotelian manner he doesn’t seem to need to so he doesn’t bother; he gives some examples which appear to adequately demonstrate that this “blending” happens in at least some situations and then forgoes further proof as he’s achieved his primary objectives: demonstrating that things can either “be” in the sense that they exist or they can “be” possessors of qualities; they can “not be” in possession of quality x but this doesn’t mean they have (or are) its opposite; they can “not be” something without meaning they don’t exist; we can discuss things that “are not” without contradicting ourselves or saying nothing; and things can possess a multiplicity of differing qualities, “blending with each other,” without this being inherently contradictory or problematic. At least this is my understanding of what I take to be the main points of the dialogue. (The first third of the book is an entertaining search for a definition of “sophist,” in which we also meet the Eleatic Visitor and are introduced to his “method of division.”) The Visitor seems to speak for Plato much more clearly than the character Socrates elsewhere, and it’s hard to imagine Plato taking on the tasks of this dialogue with the usual Socratic limitations and dialectical method. Decisively refuting the sophists on the points addressed was critical to Plato’s project (there is truth, it’s absolute and unchanging, and it very possibly can be discovered and understood by man; there also must be falsehood – both deceit and misunderstanding or ignorance; similarly, justice and knowledge are real, and attempting to pursue and understand them is not necessarily destined to be fruitless). But we also find the Visitor as the main speaker in Statesman, while Parmenides had been the main speaker in that dialogue (with a young Socrates largely on the defensive), and Socrates doesn’t even appear in The Laws. Timaeus and Critias are essentially monologues by those characters, and even in Philebus, with Socrates as the main speaker, he asserts positive doctrine rather than questioning others and demolishing their definitions and arguments. It seems Plato in his late period needed something his earlier Socratic character and method could no longer provide him (with the exception of the Theaetetus, perhaps acting as a coda for the old Socrates and an introduction to the trilogy which apparently was to include Sophist, Statesman, and the unwritten Philosopher). I mentioned a proto-Aristotelian aspect in this dialogue; it seems there are several of these in the Parmenides and Theaetetus-Sophist-Statesman trilogy: The logic puzzles in Parmenides almost demand an analysis and categorization of logical fallacies, for which a formal logic would be a prerequisite. The Eleatic Visitor’s method of division (used in Sophist and Statesman) is a step away from Socratic dialectic and a step towards Aristotelian logic. The Visitor also insists on differentiation between general and specific, and seems to be moving towards something like Aristotle’s genus and species. The unmoved mover makes a very brief appearance in Statesman’s cosmological myth, which also includes something like an initial abstract of Aristotle’s Politics (i.e. a survey and critique of existing political systems). And there’s also something similar to Aristotle’s beloved doctrine of the mean in Statesman. To be fair to Aristotle, no one else in the Academy took these hints or produced the remarkable body of work he did, and there are plenty of things in Aristotle, e.g. his causality, which don’t seem to have any obvious precedents in Plato. Certainly Aristotle’s formal logic was one of history’s great intellectual achievements, regardless of the extent of the foundation Plato provided. And of course the mindsets of the two men were very different, not least in the place (or lack thereof) of empiricism in their respective worlds of thought. Perhaps it should be noted that our view of the sophists may be excessively negative and otherwise unbalanced largely due to Plato’s well-preserved and brilliant dialogues which so often savage the group. It’s unlikely we’ll ever have adequate knowledge of them to be able to independently assess Plato’s characterizations. But perhaps it’s worth keeping in mind Plato’s harsh view of the poets, who we do know, when considering his even harsher view of the sophists.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lia

    Clearly I’ll have to read this again. I suspect God kills a kitten every time Theaetetus says “clearly” “definitely,” “of course.” BECAUSE NONE OF THAT IS CLEAR AT ALL. I became interested in Sophist through Heidegger. I’ve read a bunch of Plato’s dialogues before, I can’t remember which, I read them without any guide — they impressed me as mildly amusing, beyond that it’s completely mysterious to me how anyone can walk away with any sort of certainty, or conclusion. Plato always leaves me f Clearly I’ll have to read this again. I suspect God kills a kitten every time Theaetetus says “clearly” “definitely,” “of course.” BECAUSE NONE OF THAT IS CLEAR AT ALL. I became interested in Sophist through Heidegger. I’ve read a bunch of Plato’s dialogues before, I can’t remember which, I read them without any guide — they impressed me as mildly amusing, beyond that it’s completely mysterious to me how anyone can walk away with any sort of certainty, or conclusion. Plato always leaves me feeling “trolled.” The “nice” (?) thing about reading backwards from modern “signposts” is that I get to appreciate other people’s interpretive efforts. I don’t think I could have taken this dialogue very seirously if I didn’t know it inspired so many generations of philosophers, and now I’m burning with desire to read Heidegger’s lecture on Sophist, and his investigation of “beings, even though I’ll have to learn to read Greek first. And I suspect that’s the whole point — not to indoctrinate readers with any kind of solidified “knowledge,” but to inspire more dialogues, investigations, contemplations. I don’t usually rate books I don’t understand, but I think, for the psychological effect it created — bafflement commingled with desires to dig deeper — it’s justifiable to give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ .

  5. 4 out of 5

    Edita

    O.k. Since now, whenever somebody asks me what's the point of reading Plato after nearly 2500 years, I can laught earnestly. This was a truly extraordinary experience. Plato is quite regardful writer, he makes sure everybody's got the point before he moves on. Trying to define (and succeding in it which is a nice change from Hippias Major) the concept of Sophist, he manage to designate a neat classification of all human activity, prove that Non-Being exists, define the concepts of Being, No O.k. Since now, whenever somebody asks me what's the point of reading Plato after nearly 2500 years, I can laught earnestly. This was a truly extraordinary experience. Plato is quite regardful writer, he makes sure everybody's got the point before he moves on. Trying to define (and succeding in it which is a nice change from Hippias Major) the concept of Sophist, he manage to designate a neat classification of all human activity, prove that Non-Being exists, define the concepts of Being, Not-Being, Sameness, Difference, Motion and Rest; and just along the way find the definition of Philosophist. Time good spend.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Opposites time all the time in this dialogue. Trying to break down in the most tedious line of questions of what is being and what is non being. This dialogue was dragging for a while near the end and then it wraps up without much of a conclusion in a matter of phrases. Certainly didn’t feel conclusive to me. Nothing particularly reflective for me with this dialogue and it neither impressed me nor offended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    qwe123

    Not very interesting😢

  8. 5 out of 5

    Curtainthief

    Leave it to Plato to ask a simple question - Who is the sophist? - and create an entire ontology as a bi-product.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Seth

    A Sophist is a hunter of young boys by the way.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Malola

    Un clásico... Interesting. Plato is one of the best thinkers to have lived on this planet. I liked a lot his description of charlatans (sophists) and their word-playing. Probably worth reading for people who are into classics, philosophy or the sort.

  11. 4 out of 5

    BeamOfSunlight

    My favorite of Plato's dialogues. Also Θεαιτητος seems like kind of a babe tbh 😍🤔

  12. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    Sophist is not the most beautiful dialogue in the canon, but it is important, and this is an excellent translation. Sophist follows on the heels of Theaetetus, which explores how error occurs when the categories of thought are confused. Sophist examines how those categories interact with each other in an effort to locate where the Sophist hides: in non-being. But first the Stranger has to resolve a logical obstacle: how can the Sophist hide in non-being, when on the face of it non-being simply is not? The Eleatic Str Sophist is not the most beautiful dialogue in the canon, but it is important, and this is an excellent translation. Sophist follows on the heels of Theaetetus, which explores how error occurs when the categories of thought are confused. Sophist examines how those categories interact with each other in an effort to locate where the Sophist hides: in non-being. But first the Stranger has to resolve a logical obstacle: how can the Sophist hide in non-being, when on the face of it non-being simply is not? The Eleatic Stranger takes over where Socrates leaves off in Theaetetus and demonstrates over the course of the dialogue how non-being does exist, and furthermore, how it is interwoven with being. Where Protagoras is refuted in Theaetetus for proposing that human understanding is a relative and changing matter, Parmenides is refuted in Sophist for proposing that it is eternal and changeless. What the Eleatic Stranger proposes (and it's important that it is he and not Socrates who does this) is that the case is not either Change or Rest, Being or Non-Being, Same or Other -- it is both/and in all these cases. The argument is logically complicated because these difficulties reside in the categories of language, but upon taking these apart it becomes clearer. Where Theaetetus shows the impossibility of perfect knowledge, Sophist shows why and how this is so -- it is due to the categories (the "Forms") and how we think and communicate. On a theoretical level we expect that perfect knowledge is possible because things are what they are. True statements require a correspondence to a certain and stable state of affairs, otherwise what we say at one moment is not longer true as the state of affairs has changed and the statement is no longer true. We project this requirement upon the world because that is the way we think and speak. The Eleatic Stranger shows us the danger of doing this -- ignoring non-being allows the sophist to run free and hide in the interstices of our categories of thought. Fun stuff.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nat

    Probably the most brilliant and encompassing of Plato's works I've read. He situates a logical meta-methodology of understanding language (identity, predicates, etc.) through a metaphysical discussion of the Forms in order to understand the sophist (and thus, the philosopher). Brilliant.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    This is the best example of dialectic reasoning. Heidegger masturbated over his copy; you should too.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Thompson

    This dialogue is the companion diaglogue to Theatetus. Plato continues his thoughts on his theory of knowledge.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sah Angoluan

    Sophist dialogue was primarily for explaining the nature of Sophist is, after Socrates asked the Stranger, whose name weren’t even mentioned, about whether in his place (Elea), Sophist, statemen and philosophers are one or three different names. At first, I presupposed that the dialogue will tackle primarily on those three, but after reading it, understand it with all my might. The dialogue was all about the Sophist, maybe thats the reason why does this dialogoue was named after it. The str Sophist dialogue was primarily for explaining the nature of Sophist is, after Socrates asked the Stranger, whose name weren’t even mentioned, about whether in his place (Elea), Sophist, statemen and philosophers are one or three different names. At first, I presupposed that the dialogue will tackle primarily on those three, but after reading it, understand it with all my might. The dialogue was all about the Sophist, maybe thats the reason why does this dialogoue was named after it. The stranger and Theodorus, has able to lay down six points about the nature of the Sophist, but before that, what amuse me to this Stranger is how he project or explain his first example. His first example was about an angler, what is he is doing? If he has an art or nothing or have somewhat a power to do what he was doing. The stranger presupposes that the angler has an art, and explain that art has two kinds, a creative art, he who brings into existence something that did not exist before and the other one is the acquisitive, he who mould things that existed before. They both agreed (Theodorus and the Stranger) that the angler is an acquisitive art, as the angler didn’t produce what he is having. Then the stranger divided the acquisitive into two parts, the exchange, by means of exchanging things, and the other is by conguest. And the conguest is later divided into two, by means of open force, fighting or by secret force, hunting. Then hunting then in turn divided into two, hunting the living or hunting lifeless prey. And the hunting the living is then divided into land-animals hunting and water-animals hunting. And further divide the water-animal hunting by two, in the way how they hunt their prey, one using nets (in which the Stranger said ‘capture with enclosures’) and one takes their preys by blows (or striking) and later said the land-animals hunting is too many to divide. Using this division, the Stranger has explained what does the angler do, it is, an acquisitive art that conguest or taking by force, water-animals by the means of striking. And using this division or method again, the stranger has explain what is the art of the Sophist. He explains that the Sophist were acquisitive (not creative), hunting their living prey (not fighting and not hunting lifeless prey), just like the anglers but their paths diverge when it comes to what type of animals they hunt, the angler hunts water-animals while Sophist hunts land-animals. The stranger then further divides this into two, tame animals which includes man and the other is wild animals. Than according to the Stranger taming can be either violence or art of persuasion, and that art 1 Plato trans, by Jowett, Benjamin, ‘Sophist’ retrived from http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/sophist... on date December 2, 2012 of persuasion can either be private or public, private for either hiring or by means of gifts, giving gifts. Thus, after sub-dividing of all this, the Stranger and Theodorus has met their first point explaining what is the nature of Sophist is, ‘his art may be traced as a trace of the appropriative, acquisitive family- which hunts animals,-living-land-tame animals; which hunts man,-privately-for hire,-taking money in exchange-having the semblance of education’. Which of course while reading it has met my exact definition to what Sophist do. What then amuse again is other point that the stranger did to explain the Sophistry, being said that the acquisitive were divided into two, exchange and conguest, and exchange were divided into two, namely giving and selling, and selling was then divided into selling own production or selling other peoples product and these two (selling own production and selling other peoples product) can be either in retailing or by means of exchange, exchanging for food for the body (such as medicines) or exchanging for food for the soul (for amusements or for the sake of instruction). And exchaning for the food of the soul can be also divided into two, by virtue or by knowledge. According to the stranger, Sophist are those whose art may now be (also) traced from the art of acquisition through exchange, trade, merchandise, to a merchandise of the soul which is concerned with speech and the knowledge of virtue. Well, indeed, as i remembered Sophist were dependent for livelihood upon the tuition fees which they thus received2 from their students. What was new to me after reading this dialogue is that the Sophist were known to be the minister of purification. Well, maybe i have come across to that when I was studying Ancient Philosophy or reading the book Sophist world. But if they are indeed the minister of purification why does still the Sophist are considered one of the lowest and controversals? Well, just like the dialogue or what was written on this dialogue, Sophist being the purger of the souls, who cleared away notions of obstructive to knowledge is very doubtful. Thus, if i may conclude, the Stranger and Theodorus dialogue had come up with six points, one is that the Sophist paid hunter after wealth and youth. Two, they were merchants in the goods of the soul. Third, he had turned out to be a retailer of the same sort of wares. Fourth, they manufactured the learned wares which they sold. Fifth, they belonged to the fighting class, and was further distinguised as a hero of debate, who professed the eristic art and six, that they were purger if the souls. After this six point, after the Stranger and the Theodorus has come up to another path of explaining Sophistry, it is difficult for me to comprehend what they dialogue explains to be. But I do understand that the Sophist were disputers, that they seems to know all things that they dispute, but they only have apparent or conjectural knowledge of all things. They dialogue has also come up with the non-being, which of course my professor wants us to understand as his intruction of reading this dialogue was primarily for understand what non-being is. They do said that ‘non-being’ is unutterable, unspeakable, indescribable. Non-being is nothing. 2 Fung Yu-Lan, ‘A History of Chinese Philosophy’, (China, The North-China Daily News, Shanghai, 1937), page 53

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Dew

    Dialogue of moderate length which first methodically defines a sophist through metaphorical comparisons defining genus and the species. Serves as a precursor to Aristotle's Organon, especially Categories. The sophist is defined throughout the dialogue as being predatory, persuasive, concerned with profit and recognition, a flatterer who is the mere imitation of the philosopher. The second part of the dialogue dives into an ontological discussion (which I'll probably re-read at some point) not ne Dialogue of moderate length which first methodically defines a sophist through metaphorical comparisons defining genus and the species. Serves as a precursor to Aristotle's Organon, especially Categories. The sophist is defined throughout the dialogue as being predatory, persuasive, concerned with profit and recognition, a flatterer who is the mere imitation of the philosopher. The second part of the dialogue dives into an ontological discussion (which I'll probably re-read at some point) not nearly as difficult to follow as in the Parmenides. The conclusion is reached that Not-Being is not separate from Being, but a species of Being. Not-Being as an independent genus, that is Not-Being as an idea in and of itself, cannot exist.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    Is it me or is Plato embodying the sophist even as he is describing him in this philosophical dialogue? The logic in the conversation between one learned Visitor from Elea and an impossibly agreeable bloke named Theaetetus gets completely nutso with some regularity. No matter how odd the wise guy's categorizations get (and my God, he does love to subdivide), you can pretty much bet that his primary listener is going to pipe in with a "yes," a "that's right," or an "of course." There are interest Is it me or is Plato embodying the sophist even as he is describing him in this philosophical dialogue? The logic in the conversation between one learned Visitor from Elea and an impossibly agreeable bloke named Theaetetus gets completely nutso with some regularity. No matter how odd the wise guy's categorizations get (and my God, he does love to subdivide), you can pretty much bet that his primary listener is going to pipe in with a "yes," a "that's right," or an "of course." There are interesting ideas aplenty but equally as many that are downright hilarious.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    Seems like this method of dividing is a way I/we define objects in the world. "It's not X, so it must be Y...but it's not really Y so it must be Z..." Sophist illustrates some reasons why his might not be the best way of defining something, since the Sophist then pops up eveywhere. But idk how else to define things. Does it reflect the weird nature of the sophist or does it show a flaw in this method of reasoning?

  20. 5 out of 5

    An Te

    A finely correspondence following the dialogue 'Thaetetus' between Socrates (here known as the Visitor) and Thaetetus, mathematician. It is a careful unravelling of what a sophist is. All is revealed at the end in the last few lines. An enjoyable dialogue revealing the emptiness of a sophist.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hunter Tidwell

    I read this dialogue as part of the philosophy club I run on campus. We all had different translations, but overall this was my favorite - it avoids being unreadably technical while also using invented hyphenated terms to approximate key Greek notions instead of reducing them to English concepts.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Schuschu

    What’s silly about liberals versus what’s contrived about conservatives... written like 2,300 years ago... With the discussion of being and not being and creation versus abiogenesis, I wonder where the Stranger is from.

  23. 4 out of 5

    PanicPillow

    One of the less accessible of Plato's works. Tedious at times but it is a great example of his 'dialectical' method.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Sophists are jerks who misrepresent the truth for money.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jung Edda

    Who cares.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    On the one hand, I'm finding Plato/Socrates much easier to read and understand. On the other hand, I'm finding it easier to understand why Socrates was asked to kill himself.

  27. 4 out of 5

    David Rice

    Highly complex, but also highly entertaining -- like an Ancient Greek "Waiting for Godot," with two hapless guys endlessly rehashing unknowable subtleties of existence.

  28. 5 out of 5

    JJ

    I've just finished reading what I can only assume is one of the earliest extant hit pieces of the Western literary canon. Plato did not like sophists - that much is clear from many of his dialogues, but this one really ramps the sophist-loathing up to eleven. Two little interesting things that caught my eye in this text: One) They discuss the topic of essentially atheism very casually. It's strange, because I recently read Apology and Phaedo, in which Socrates faces the dea I've just finished reading what I can only assume is one of the earliest extant hit pieces of the Western literary canon. Plato did not like sophists - that much is clear from many of his dialogues, but this one really ramps the sophist-loathing up to eleven. Two little interesting things that caught my eye in this text: One) They discuss the topic of essentially atheism very casually. It's strange, because I recently read Apology and Phaedo, in which Socrates faces the death penalty for, amongst other things, atheism. STRANGER: Looking now at the world and all the animals and plants, at things which grow upon the earth from seeds and roots, as well as at inanimate substances which are formed within the earth, fusile or non-fusile, shall we sway that they come into existence - not having existed previously - by the creation of God, or shall we agree with the vulgar opinion about them? THEAETETUS: What is it? STRANGER: The opinion that nature brings them into being from some spontaneous and unintelligent cause. Or shall we say that they are created by a divine reason and a knowledge which comes from God? THEAETETUS: I dare say that, owing to my youth, I may often waver in my view, but now when I look at you and see that you incline to refer them to God, I defer to your authority. Two) Theaetetus can follow a complex philosophical discussion (or at least convincingly appear to by agreeing with everything being said), but in his study of the trivium of logic, grammar and rhetoric, it appears he's been skipping classes with the grammarian. He struggles a lot with the concept of 'nouns'. STRANGER: A succession of nouns only is not a sentence, any more than of verbs without nouns. THEAETETUS: I do not understand you. STRANGER: I see that when you gave your assent you had something else in your mind. But what I intended to say was, that a mere succession of nouns or of verbs is not discourse. THEAETETUS: What do you mean? STRANGER: I mean that words like 'walks,' 'runs,' 'sleeps,' or any other words which denote action, however many of them you string together, do not make discourse. THEAETETUS: How can they? STRANGER: Or, again, when you say 'lion,' 'stag,' 'horse,' or any other words which denote agents - neither in this of stringing words together do you attain to discourse; for there is no expression of action or inaction, or of the existence of existence or non-existence indicated by the sounds until verbs are mingled with nouns, then the words fit, and the smallest combination of them forms language, and is the simplest and least form of discourse. THEAETETUS: Again I ask, what do you mean? Come on Theaetetus, among all the difficult concepts in this text you just accept; this is the one you get hung up on?

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bob Nichols

    Socrates hands off the lead for this dialogue to a "visitor from Elea” who is a member of “the group who gather around Parmenides and Zeno.” The visitor serves as a mouthpiece for a perspective on the Sophists that is shared by Socrates. Sophists, referred to as a “tribe,” have “expertise in persuasion” or “expertise in pleasing people,” using pleasure as “bait” in a “money-making branch of expertise in debating, disputation, controversy, fighting, combat, and acquisition.” A Sophist is “a hired Socrates hands off the lead for this dialogue to a "visitor from Elea” who is a member of “the group who gather around Parmenides and Zeno.” The visitor serves as a mouthpiece for a perspective on the Sophists that is shared by Socrates. Sophists, referred to as a “tribe,” have “expertise in persuasion” or “expertise in pleasing people,” using pleasure as “bait” in a “money-making branch of expertise in debating, disputation, controversy, fighting, combat, and acquisition.” A Sophist is “a hired hunter of rich young men,” and is “kind of a cheat who imitates real things.” The visitor also serves as the model for the Socratic method, beginning with the use of an over accommodating interlocutor, whose job is to respond with various forms of “yes” and “it seems so” in response to the visitor’s question. Then we understand that the purpose of these questions is to improve the health of the soul by “cleansing” the “wickedness” of a "discord and sickness” that comes from” ignorance.” “Cleansing” comes from “refutation” (i.e. the Socratic method). “The people who cleanse the soul,” the visitor says, “…think the soul…won’t get any advantage from any learning that’s offered to it until someone shames it by refuting it….” The visitor charges that the Sophist runs off into the realm of “that which is not.” As to what is true knowledge, the visitor outlines what might be (there is uncertainty here among scholars) Plato’s theory of Forms. The visitor says that there are at least three primary forms: Being, change and rest. But there’s a hierarchy as Being includes within itself both change and rest. That’s Parmenides’ theory, “Being is One,” but then the visitor goes beyond Parmenides by stating that Being includes Becoming (change), thereby linking (for Plato) the eternal unchanging world of forms with the ever changing sensible world, yet preserving the supremacy of Being over All. And that, for Plato’s Socrates, is True Knowledge.

  30. 4 out of 5

    LindaH

    Don't you love a book with an original publication date of -360? (This fatuous opening should warn the reader that this review is written by one who is NOT a philosophy student.) Sophist is the title of one of Plato's dialogues. In this highly readable text there are two speakers: Stranger, a philosopher, and Theaetetus, a student. The issue that triggers their Q&A is, What is a sophist? It is not a "spoiler" to tell you that a sophist in Plato's time was a person who claimed to k Don't you love a book with an original publication date of -360? (This fatuous opening should warn the reader that this review is written by one who is NOT a philosophy student.) Sophist is the title of one of Plato's dialogues. In this highly readable text there are two speakers: Stranger, a philosopher, and Theaetetus, a student. The issue that triggers their Q&A is, What is a sophist? It is not a "spoiler" to tell you that a sophist in Plato's time was a person who claimed to know everything and, by artfully arguing as did a true philosopher, convinced paying customers to avail themselves of his tutelage. Apparently, in light of our current supply of charlatans, quacks, impostors, and con-men, not to mention talk show hosts, nothing has changed in the past two thousand years. Stranger takes Theaetetus through a series of parses, defining the terms of the terms of the terms, and Theaetetus is happily willing to go along. There are always two kinds of a thing, and then of the second kind, there are two kinds of it. And so on. At one point Stranger has the student divide the set both horizontally and vertically, thus producing four kinds and thereby narrowing the pursuit of the elusive sophist. This is all delicious fun for anyone who loves Logic and Language, although I must admit to a bit of mental vertigo when the characters were discussing Not-Being and whether it exists, because it is not. I'd like to say Sophist is the best of the dialogues, because I enjoyed it so much, but, since it is only the first of the dialogues I have read, I can only ask, How could anything else written 2300 years ago be any better? The edition I read was translated by Benjamin Jowett, not the one in GoodReads' file shown above. I bought it for $0.99 at iBooks.

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