In many instances the viewpoints taken by the Sophists contain various contradictions. These contradictions create some rather controversial paradoxes, many of which are of philosophical and political importance. Each paradox contains unique perspectives that can be used to either support or criticize democracy as a political tool.
One such controversial topic of importance was the Sophistic view on logos, language and rhetoric. Their views on such topics were the core for their skeptical nature as well as the foundation for the rest of their beliefs. The basis of their profession and critical technique lied in their opinion that two opposite logoi of equal truth can be created. This implied that both a statement and it's contradiction can both be stated as truth. Furthermore, it was implied by Protagoras that either side could be argued successfully using orthos logos. This technique involved taking any argument, possibly even a weaker one than your opponent's, and using rhetoric to create a superior (and victorious) argument. There are, however, several important contradictions from within their techniques. For instance, the Sophists cannot logically argue their case since their dual logoi premise is in direct contradiction with logic. In logic, if something is true, then it's contradiction must be false. The opposite is true with the sophistic beliefs as the concept, that there is only one correct answer, is rejected. Taking this one step further, it can be logically proven that the argument works to invalidate itself. For instance if one was to believe the idea of dual logos to be true, then under sophistic principles the opposite can also hold true. In this case, the contradiction of the original premise would be that the concept of dual logos would be false, thus denying it's own existence.
Despite the apparent flaw in these core beliefs... Continue Reading