The word sophist comes from the Greek word Sophos, which means wise, but at the same time has a different meaning, means manipulative, because a sophist is a person who uses different sophisms or false arguments that seem to be true. For this reason, the word has now become a contradictory word and a derogatory term. In fact, when we refer to sophists, we are talking about purely intellectual thinkers who played an important role in Greece, mainly during the 5th century B.C. and who lived mainly in the city of Athens. Among the most outstanding characters of sophism that we can mention are the following characters: Protagoras, Gorgias and Critias. Most of them came directly from Greek colonies but lived in Athens. In this city, philosophical and cultural environment was perfect for the creation of new ideas. Their proposals crashed at all times with Polis, Socrates and Plato's ideas.


Why they are famous?

For giving philosophy a new direction and meaning thanks to cosmos study

Who were the Sophists?

The word sophist comes from the Greek sophia (σοφία), "wisdom" and sophós (σοφός), "wise". This name was given in classical Greece to people who taught wisdom. They were people who had a practical intelligence and generic sense. They were wise men and intellectual thinkers who played a very important role in Greece and who educated thousands of young people.

Sophists’ history

The sophists were great thinkers who developed all their activity in the city of Athens during the 5th century. Philosophers dedicated to sophist thought elaborated different theories to explain the cosmos. They were in charge of giving a new direction and meaning to philosophy. For them, the theme was based on man and society. They traveled a lot and got to know many different cultures. A series of problems related to customs and laws were raised. They gave rise to relativism. They went from place to place teaching their theories about how to be good citizens and what steps to follow in order to succeed in politics. His teachings had a practical purpose, which was to be able to function properly in politics. They were the first thinkers to charge money for their teachings.

Sophists’ characteristics


Sophists’ works

The sophists were teachers who went from one place to another and worked as professional teachers offering their services to Greek youth, mainly in Athens. Some of their works were the following:

These authors had studied mainly nature, they investigated about reality and this was their arché. They shifted their center of interest in the study of man and society.

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.

How to cite this article?

Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Sophists. Recovered on 24 February, 2024, de Euston96:

Recommended for you