2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
Isocrates (436-338 BCE) founded a school in Athens sometime around 393 BCE that differed greatly from the already established and respected Platonic school. Rather than focusing on the pursuit of truth, it focused more on the art of persuasion and the teaching of rhetoric. Isocrates was a highly respected orator who became quite wealthy selling speeches to those who could afford to pay his steep fees. Philosophically, Isocrates made a distinction between the philosophy of scientific knowledge and that of correct opinion. He proposed that the philosophy of opinion was truer and consequently more valuable because it aided in human action, while scientific knowledge was a mere mental exercise valuable only as a preparation for true philosophy. Rhetorical training, on the other hand, was the best way to teach virtue, since it helped men live and act rightly. Isocrates, a contemporary of Plato, is a valuable source on the intellectual and political situation of Athens during the fifth and fourth centuries BCE.
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