Philosophers take many different approaches to understand whether something is wise or not. The distinction between the Sophists and Socrates are the different approaches to knowledge. The sophists use a persuasive method known as rhetoric, to obtain victory whereas Socrates uses a dialectic form of question and answer to attain at least some degree of truth. They both have common interest is human life, human affairs and intellectual knowledge but in different perspectives and approaches.
The sophists approach to knowledge is the rhetoric method. The rhetoric method is persuasively speaking to form an excellent argument. They believe that making a “weaker argument into a stronger argument” will allow them to be victorious in any form of position when taking on a claim to an argument. To defend a claim, the rhetoric method will be persuasive and convincing with the use of intellectual words ...view middle of the document...
A simplistic example given in The Great Conversation, is the temperature of the wind. The temperature of the wind might seem cold but to the other person it might seem the opposite. Thus, we cannot conclude a definite temperature to the wind. We are confined to what is exposed and appearances.
Socrates approach to knowledge is a form Plato calls dialectic. A dialectic approach consists of difficult questions and plausible answers. He will examine if whether or not the answers are plausible. Apart from Nature Philosophy, Socrates questions were never answered that fully satisfied him. He doesn’t consider himself a nature philosopher or a sophist. He is not ashamed of considering himself ignorant. Ironically, according to the Orator, he is the wisest man. The reason why Socrates is the wisest man is because knows that he is not knowledgable about the absolute truth. Socrates believes that man can attain absolute truth and reality by using his technique of asking difficult questions and seeking for answers. Difficult questions will test our knowledge of whether we fully understand the subject. Socrates aim is to progress to toward the truth rather than victory.
Despite the distinctions between the Sophists and Socrates, they both have some similarities. They both have a common interest in human life and seeking for some type of answer to become more knowledgeable. Also human affairs are a common interest in giving a convincing and rational approach to knowledge. They also have common interests in acquiring knowledge both persuasively, in the case of the sophists and rationality according to Socrates.
Socrates and the Sophist have intellectual knowledge in two different perspectives. The sophist believe that everything is relative. The only way of being intelligent is through the use of rhetoric and becoming victorious. We don’t have the ability to understand reality and absolute truth. Socrates claims that we do have the ability to reach reality by using a dialect; asking questions, answering, and examining. This will progress towards the truth and if we know that truth, we will have the ability to persuade and also become convincing.