Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Roast of the Sophists

A long time ago
In 450 BC
There live a man named Plato
and the Sophists, you see

Now Plato was a hater
of the selfish Sophists
who didn’t preach for the greater
and forced an arete with schists

So on a day full of sun
Plato proclaimed
“My ideas have won!”
to which the Sophists maintained:

“Meet us at the agora!”
“We’ll have a battle of wits!”
“of which we have a plethora,
and virtue that acquits!”

The battle began at the agora that day
and so Plato stood tall and asked,
“Who first wants to play?”
And Prodicus emerged from the crowd, rather fast.

“I am the basis for this fortunate group!”
Truth can be found with only absolute truth!
we own our fate, this is no dupe
now go away, you incompetent sleuth”

Plato, not even a little bit miffed,
asked “how do we know what’s absolute?!
your whole theory has a big massive rift
for your muddled ideas render it moot.”

“Go away Prodicus, I’ve become bored
no, really, I literally almost snored”
And so Prodicus left the agora in disgrace,
tears streaming from his eyes, right down his face

Cue Gorgias the Great
(or so he believes)
He walked forth to his fate
albeit a little naive

“Gorgias, you fiend!”
cried Plato, ready for debate
“your speeches need to be cleaned
or else, who can negate?”

“But I understand what I write!”
Gorgias yelled out,
“Yes but the people think you uptight!”
Plato snorted, right out his snout.

“Your language is too elaborate,
sometimes moreso than an expert!
You take a word like ‘cabinet’
And turn it to ‘a lumberous girt!’”

“You treat yourself as a king,
but your ideas don’t understand their end
you’re merely a fling
now be gone and descend.”
“Oh I’ve saved one of the best for last!
exclaimed good Plato, excited
“Don’t you think for one second you’ve passed!
for I will take on you Sophists, united.”

Plato began: O’ Protagoras you Sophist teacher for hire,
your agnostic ideals have put your works up in fire
If there are no deities, then how may you ask
that I may stand here and take you to task?

Protagoras did not cower from Platos stings,
he dug in and returned his own quips
“Man is the measure of all of these things,
The fate of our persons is at our own lips.

For each man determines what’s truth and what’s lie.
There can be no divine intention that rains down from the sky
Although my people have banished me to exile
I remain steadfast with my ideas, like a ravenous reptile

Away from the agora, in a small little huddle
The Sophists convened, all in a fuddle
They murmured :“Oh Plato, the fool,
he’ll never realize that we’re actually cool.”

Taylor, C.C.W. and Lee, Mi-Kyoung, "The Sophists", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>.

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