Gorgias (Philosopher)


Gorgias (gôr´jēəs), c.485–c.380 BC, Greek Sophist. From his native city, Leontini, Sicily, he was sent as an ambassador to Athens, where he settled to teach and practice rhetoric. Gorgias pursued the negative implications of the Eleatic school and asserted: (1) Nothing exists; (2) If anything does exist, it cannot be known; (3) If it can be known, the knowledge of it cannot be communicated. Objective truth being thus impossible, there remains only the art of the Sophists, persuasion. Such arguments undermined the foundations of polytheism and led to open challenges of current moral standards. His challenge to speculative thought stimulated a more sophisticated approach to the problems of philosophy. A dialogue of Plato's bears his name.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Gorgias (Philosopher): Selected full-text books and articles

The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and Sophists By Robin Waterfield Oxford University Press, 2000
Librarian's tip: "Gorgias of Leontini" begins on p. 222
Gorgias and the Psychology of Persuasion By Futter, D Akroterion, Vol. 56, Annual 2011
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Rereading the Sophists: Classical Rhetoric Refigured By Susan C. Jarratt Southern Illinois University Press, 1991
Librarian's tip: Gorgias is discussed in Chap. 3 "The First Sophists and Feminism: Discourses of the 'Other'"
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