Sophistry, Rhetoric and Politics

Keywords: sophistry, rhetoric, politics, logology, ontology, distance


The article aims to shed light on the connection between rhetoric and politics, and its dissemination in the sophistic and philosophical tradition. The argumentation is based on the conceptions of two contemporary philosophers – Barbara Cassin and Hans Blumenberg, who appear as the protagonists of positions according to which rhetoric takes up a significant place in political life. Since Plato, the sophists were treated as other pre-Socratics, as demagogs, who do not hold the truth but spread a false opinion. The philosophers share a conviction that speech immediately expresses reality, and they also prohibited following the way of non-Being (Parmenides). The sophists (Gorgias, Protagoras) shared the position that speech expresses only itself, but not reality. Two opposite (but related) ways of thinking are best seen in M. Heidegger’s and H. Arendt’s philosophies. Keeping in mind the main theme, Blumenberg’s philosophical position includes logos as the mean of distancing, the art of politics is determined by the ability to delay decisions and soften conflicts by rhetorical means, while Cassins’ logology is understood as the ontology.

Politics and the Power of Speech