THE rôle of sophist is not one to be lightly assumed in this age. Time was when sophists were held in high esteem; those who practised their calling with success dwelt in palaces and were the companions of emperors and statesmen. To-day the man who should adopt sophism as his profession would condemn himself to obscurity and poverty. It is not easy to say just why this great profession has fallen from its high place and why its name has become a byword and a reproach. For the business of the sophist is to help men to live wisely; and, surely, the wise conduct of life is now a more difficult matter than in any former age!
We still have not a few esteemed philosophers; but, in so far as they concern themselves with conduct, they wrestle with such venerable puzzles as the nature of the chief good, the "problem of evil" and the reason why any man should seek to lead the good life. The role of the sophist is a humbler one. Observing that two thousand years of discussion have failed to solve these high and ultimate problems, he is content to set out with two facts: first, that many men desire to live wisely and to live well, preferring good to evil; secondly, that, in spite of