Looking for something Socrates/Plato spoke on (Vague)

Hey guys. Hopefully someone can help me out with this - its just something I wanted to look into further for my own reading, etc.

I remember very vaguely talking in a class a few years back about Socrates’ thoughts on a subject and am not having any luck finding it online (don’t really know what exactly to search for I guess). It was about tricksters, those who can maybe win a debate without really knowing what they’re talking about? I seem to remember the Professor describing it further as “the kind of people that write self-help book modern day.” Am I imagining this? I know it’s vague but I’m just looking for any imput…maybe someone somewhat gets what I’m saying. If you know where he speaks on this (The republic?) or any further reading, and could turn me onto it, it’d be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

I don’t know the dialogue you’re looking for, but I would look at Socrates’ interactions with the Sophists. Here’s one such dialogue. Plato had Socrates criticizing the Sophists in a few dialogues, and the ‘trickster’ bit definitely applies to the Sophists.

Thanks a lot. Does it say which writing this is from?

Oops, I accidentally linked you to the txt version of that page. Here it is in HTML. I think it’s called ‘Sophist’.

I concur - you are almost certainly refering to Scorates (&Plato) vs The Sophists.

The Sophists were ‘rhetoricians’, who took money for giving speeches and for teaching as ‘moral instructors’. Socrates often claimed that they were not interested in truth, but in persuasion. They were one group of people who accused Socrates of various crimes resulting in his execution.

The major dialogue I can think of where Socrates criticises thier methods is the Gorgias - a dialogue with Gorgias, a well known sophist of the time, in which Socrates explictly criticises thier approach. Whole text here: en.wikisource.org/wiki/Gorgias , and check out this passage:

The start of the Apology (Socarte’s speech at his trial, which got him executed) also contains some relevant passages.

Hi, Rookie,

I strongly suspect that the dialogue you are looking for is the Gorgias. It is one of the few dialogues in which The Man expresses a specific viewpoint and then defends it, rather than merely dismantling loudmouths around him ](*,) . (Though he does that, too.) It’s a rather long dialogue, and I haven’t read it in years. But he definitely stakes out the position that Sophists are doing harm purposefully. At one point early on, he makes the analogy between pastry chefs and physicians. The doctors give us stuff that tastes bad but is good for us, and the pastry chefs do the reverse. Guess whose work is sought after more by most people.

Hope this helps.