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The Sophistic Movement
The Sophistic Movement | G.B. Kerferd
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The Sophistic Movement | G.B. Kerferd
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I read this to get a better picture of what the Sophistic movement in fifth-century Greece was like. What I know so far via Plato's dialogues is how Socrates wants to bring down the Sophists; the idea that one can monetise truth & teach it seems to have been anathema to Plato's philosophy because of the inevitable result: the teachers sought fame, riches, & influence, & found it easiest to peddle their wares to the rich. So far, so 21st-century!

batsy I keep repeating myself, but reading about the "culture wars" in ancient Greece was too prescient, & Socrates' criticism of the Sophists in some of the dialogues I've read basically amounts to my own dislike of influencers ? Kerferd does a lovely, lucid job of presenting the Sophists as much more than that, though, & takes us through some foundational precepts in philosophy that were part of the Sophistic movement. An elegant & concise history. 1mo
vivastory Fabulous review, Suba! It's been years since I've tackled Socrates and Plato. Are you familiar with Simon Critchley? I haven't read him yet, but he sounds interesting and your philosophy posts reminded me of his works. He's edited a few books on philosophy, including a collection of NY Times columns on philosophy 1mo
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batsy @vivastory Thank you! I've heard of Critchley & because I think he must have written an intro or preface for some books I read as an undergrad, but I haven't actually read his stuff. Thanks for the recs, those definitely sound intriguing. I see that he also has one on Greek tragedy and that's made me perk up a little! 😁 1mo
vivastory Yes! The one on Greek tragedy & the parallels with contemporary society does sound very very fascinating. 1mo
vivastory Certain philosophical thought experiments can be engrossing (albeit occasionally cynical). Lately I have been considering revising my atheistic viewpoint to align more with Descartes' Evil Demon Concept. It would explain so much lol. (edited) 1mo
batsy @vivastory It's so interesting. I've been meaning to revisit Descartes, too! I think I was pretty cynical in my undergrad days (the nihilism and doom of youth, heh), so I was really taken with Descartes' demon. I was also reading Paradise Lost for the first time so it all came together 😆 I grew away from it, but lately I've been thinking about it a lot and perhaps I've come full circle! I've just been putting off a Descartes deep dive, lol. 1mo
vivastory The concept reads like Chuang Tzu's Butterfly Dream as imagined by Poe haha. I never did a thorough reading of Descartes, but I feel like I absorbed a lot of his ideas through the subsequent philosophers who were influenced by him, including a personal favorite: Schopenhauer (speaking of sunny thinkers lol) 1mo
vivastory Also 💙 Paradise Lost (Satan has all of the best lines) 1mo
vivastory I don't know if you have heard Dylan Thomas' readings of Paradise Lost excerpts, but they are fantastic 1mo
batsy @vivastory I've not read Schopenhauer! I'm afraid of him 😅 I do want to attempt a tiny bit of Wittgenstein (the aphoristic version of him, at least) and Kirkegaard (partly influenced by Elif Batuman's novel)hopefully this year. Also I have not heard Dylan Thomas's readings of PL so I'll be looking it up for sure, thank you! 1mo
Bookwomble @vivastory @batsy I think I gained an IQ point just reading your dialogue! 😁 1mo
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