Sophism and Pragmatism

Logique Et Analyse 53 (210):131-149 (2010)
A traditional pastime of philosophers is the analysis of rhetoric and the repudiation of sophistry. Nevertheless, some of what philosophers call sophistry might rather be a subtle repudiation of the traditional principles of rationality. In this paper I start by granting the Sophist his repudiation and outline some of the obstacles to settling the dispute between Sophists and Rationalists. I then suggest that we should distinguish pragmatic Sophism from nihilistic Sophism. In the hope of driving a wedge between these two I illustrate the way in which the two are confounded when Sophism is advanced by use of a particular rhetorical manoeuvre and then give an argument against nihilistic Sophism which even a nihilistic Sophist should be persuaded by.
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