Volume 12, Issue 2, 2012
Sophists, Names and Democracy
The article argues that the Euthydemus shows the essential connection between sophistry, right usage of language, and politics. It shows how the sophistic use of language correlates with the manners of politics which Plato associates with the sophists. First, it proceeds by showing the explicit criticism of both brothers, for they seem unable to fulfill the task given to them. Second, several times in the dialogue Socrates criticizes the sophists’ use of language, since it is totally inappropriate to fulfill the above-mentioned pedagogical task. I will show that this critique mirrors a deeper conflict between two different conceptions of language. Finally, the article suggests that the sophistic erroneous use of language has direct implications on their political theory, which Plato criticizes in
the Euthydemus as well as in the Republic.