Sophism: Modern day Sophists

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Sophism: Modern day Sophists


Part 1

Choose one of these and respond in a 1-2 page paper response please:


A. Read Abraham Lincoln`s Second Inaugural Address (pp. 22-23 in Herrick), and demonstrate how the address illustrates any three of the characteristics of rhetorical discourse as outlined in Chapter 1.


B. In your opinion, what members (or segment) of our modern society most closely resemble(s) the Sophists? Be sure to demonstrate your view by citing examples and drawing parallels.

Part 2

In the classical world, a "great man" was often identified as one who possessed not only an understanding of certain ideals ( Truth, Justice and Beauty among them), but also one who was an accomplished orator or rhetor. In modern terms, however, rhetoric often carries a negative connotation. Many of you have heard (or even used) the phrase "empty rhetoric" to describe a speech or argument that is seemingly devoid of reason, organization or purpose.

In this introduction, Herrick defines the art of rhetoric as: "the systematic study and intentional practice of effective symbolic expression" (7). We have used this definition as our starting point for the class and will continue to construct an understanding of the art of rhetoric as it applies to our socio-political community.

SophistsStudent:Professor:Course title:Date:Part 1: Modern day SophistsIn ancient Greece, sophists were any class of professional teachers who provided instructions in a variety of fields for instance rhetoric, general culture, disputation or politics. In essence, they were itinerant intellectuals and professional teachers who frequented Greek cities such as Athens in the 2nd part of the 5th century BCE (Lawhead, 2011). They provided young rich men with an education in excellence or virtue in return for a fee, and in so doing attained fame and wealth whilst also arousing major opposition and antipathy. This class of people prided themselves on having the ability of making weaker arguments stronger. Sophists relied on rhetoric and persuasion and they argued in support of whichever side of a case they were being paid to argue for, or any side they thought would serve their best interest (Lawhead, 2011). The members of our modern society that most closely resemble the Greek sophists include politicians, lawyers and advertisers. This is primarily because many of these individuals are usually concerned only wi...

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