Rhetoric and Philosophy in the Age of Second Sophistic: Real Conflict or Fight for Controversy?



Year of publication 2015
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Graeco-Latina Brunensia
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Web Digitální knihovna FF MU
Field Mass media, audiovision
Keywords Second Sophistic; philosophy; rhetoric; conflict; elitism; self-presentation; education
Description The tension between the two dominant educational disciplines, rhetoric and philosophy, has been a phenomenon of much relevancy in ancient literature ever since the time of Plato. The question of the problematic relationship between the two professions in the era of so-called Second Sophistic has received much scholarly attention recently. The aim of the paper is to demonstrate that no strict line exists anymore between rhetoric and philosophy of this era. This opinion is supported by the evidence from the works of Roman representatives of the Second Sophistic movement - Apuleius, Aulus Gellius and Marcus Cornelius Fronto. These suggest that if there actually is any sign of antagonism present between the two disciplines, it is highly artificial and motivated primarily by the need to provoke a reaction since any kind of controversy was crucial to the self-presentation of anyone who pursues a career in rhetoric or philosophy. Moreover, there are aspects indicating that rhetoric and philosophy cooperated to anchor the position of the privileged elite as opposed to the new threat of democratization of educational institutions.
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