Name is not Everything
The greek word from which their identity emerged means Wise, Wisdom etc. They were people who excelled in knowledge of philosophy, Mathematics, Astronomy, Administration etc just like any renowned scholars of their day.
They even wrote books, taught students and excelled in discussions, debates, lectures etc. They were also famous & liked by the public just like any other scholars of those days.
Yet they are never considered Philosophers or Intellectuals even till date. Many even do not consider them as Scholars, Teachers, Wise men etc.
The mainstream Philosophy has more contempt & disregard for them than any schools of thought.
What was Wrong with the Sophists ?
The Central Question is what went wrong with the Sophists & Why the word itself came to mean a Pejorative term ?
Similarly it is even important to know why Sophism came to signify a derogatory ideology ?
The answer lies in their non-conviction & non- practicing of those same ideologies which they claimed to profess. They were professional teachers who taught anything for money.
They believed in “ Both-Sideism” where truth is not absolute but variable & they can argue & support from both the sides. They loved to impress people with rhetorics & largely served the rich & powerful with their knowledge.
They believed in convincing people through their oratory even if it was a lie & immoral thing to do. They firmly believed that human minds can be twisted in whatever direction they liked simply by skillfull oratory. They were intelligent verbal gymnasts with no moral convictions.
They espoused no particular philosophy & did not believe in any ideology. They believed in being just professionals who had nothing to do with convictions to any philosophies.
They were Intellectual Opportunists who practiced false equivalnces between the weak & the strong
We have to Learn.
We have a lesson to learn from the Sophists specially the Thought Leadership.
Thought Leadership for whom money, fame, positions etc are the only craving criteria & those who serve not the weakest of the weak of society with their knowledge are all Sophists of the day.
If knowledge would have been the sole source of enlightenment then all Sophists would be Philosophers by now.
what do you say ?