The Price of Sophistry
In modern usage, the terms sophism and sophistry are used interchangeably with “inaccurate” or “deliberately misleading.” A sophist is someone who relies upon fallacious arguments or reasoning to win a debate. Someone can be accused of sophistry because they are too stupid to see the flaws in their reasoning. Other times they are accused of deliberately misleading arguments. The motivation is malice rather than stupidity or carelessness.
This negative view of sophistry was not always so. We get the word from the Greeks who used the word to mean teacher. A sophist hired himself out to rich families to instruct their sons in philosophy, math, rhetoric and music. The ability to debate in public was an important skill for an ambitious Athenian, so educating your children to be convincing orators was a primary goal of rich parents. A good sophist was one who was good at making convincing arguments.
Our negative view of this also comes from the Greeks. The reason we know about Socra
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