What is the difference between Socrates and the Sophists? Not that one is good and one is bad, but what are their different beliefs?

The difference between Socrates and the Sophists is that Socrates believed that universal standards existed to guide individuals in matters such as justice and beauty, while the Sophists believed that it was powerful people's job to determine these points of knowledge themselves.

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The word "sophist" does not denote any particular beliefs. Though English words such as "sophistry" and "sophism" have become associated with dishonesty and specious reasoning, they originally meant no more than "someone who is paid to teach." The closest equivalent in modern English, therefore, is probably "professor" or "teacher"—and, just as we do not normally think that it is disreputable or disgraceful for a professor to accept payment for teaching students, there was originally no taboo in ancient Athens about the sophists accepting payment for teaching.

The fact that the sophists are often now disregarded as disreputable people is partly due to comic playwrights like Aristophanes, who lambasted the sophists and complained that they became rich by teaching absurd and useless subjects or that they taught immoral tricks to their students (as Socrates also complains in Plato's Gorgias ). Aristophanes included Socrates among these sophists, but both Plato and Xenophon differentiate him...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 834 words.)

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