Socrates was not a Sophist; he never took money for his teaching, and rejected sophistical arguments.For one thing, the sophists taught for money. Socrates did not. For another, the sophists used language to win arguments and to sway people’s opinion regardless of the truth. Socrates used language to attain the truth. Socrates lived as an independent man. he did not want to go under any category. He was not paid for his “irony” and maieutics. Therefore he was not a sophist, as being a sophist was having a profession. Socrates was genuinely worried about why the young men were so disappointing. Socrates’ young students had been a particular disappointment to him. If Socrates could figure out exactly how the fathers had failed to properly educate their sons, he could save the city and restore Athens to its former glory. Socrates’ interesting idea was that human excellence was really a kind of knowledge.
Sophists were skilled in elaborate argumentation; were they would try and make the argument they were focusing on the stronger side, even if it was wrong or weaker. This often made them seem devious as they were working only for the benefit of themselves and their students, who were aiming to become high profile speakers or politicians. Socrates was unlike this in that his main focus was not on argumentation or speaking, he rather focused on questioning virtues to understand morals and ethics. He believed that all opinions were valid which also opposed the views of the Sophists who assumed that the wisest of people were genuinely correct and only they had the ability to teach.
The main goal of socrates was unlike that of the sophists. The aim of the Sophists was varied around material possession and desire. They believed knowledge is a means to power and is to be used for political or material gain. Socrates believed his questions would encourage personal growth and create a better society as a whole who would understand philosophy and ethics. Him only questionig rather than focusing on teaching separates him from the Sophists. This is due to the fact that questioning isn’t a real method of teaching and Socrates himself stated “I know one thing, that I know nothing”. This puts him on the same level as his interlocutor and gives him an insight to other opinions.
In Ancient Greece, the sophists were a group of teachers of philosophy and rhetoric. This group of Greek philosophers and teachers in the 5th century BC, who speculated on a wide range of subjects flawed arguments superficially correct in its reasoning, which deliberately invalid argument displaying ingenuity in reasoning in the hope of deceiving someone. There was a difference between the two, sophists showed that equally good arguments could be advanced on either side of any issue; they were skeptics who doubted that there could be any certain or reliable knowledge. On the other hand, socrates was committed to the pursuit of truth and considered it his mission to seek out certain knowledge. Unlike philosophers before them, Sophists claimed to be wise enough to teach whatever you might want to know as long as you. Socrates said he was a citizen of the world. Whether in Athens or elsewhere he was meditating, and he was helping others finding their true selves.
Furthermore, Socrates did not travel from city to city seeking new students to teach. He was the opposite in that he remained loyal to his home town of Athens. This is evident as he started becoming popular amongst the people who would often regard him as ‘annoying’. His popularity therefore proves that he wasn’t a travel like the sophists. Socrates has some attributes of the Sophists, such as having students, his overall method and aim was contrary to theirs. Socrates himself states in his apology “I do indeed admit that I am eloquent. But in how different a way from theirs!” which reinforces the fact that he may be good in rhetoric but his goal is not to teach argumentation and political skills. As a result it is clear that Socrates wanted to simply question people on ethics and morals and not teach for material or prolific gains.
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