Sophia: An African Journal of Philosophy

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The Socio-Political Implications of the Sophists Concept of Law and Morality

G Umezurike


The sophists were itinerant teacher who shifted the attention of philosophy from nature to man. As teachers, their doctrine was anchored on the ideals of relativism, subjectivism, contextualism, and to that extent what Machiavelli later came to understand as “the end justifies the means” dictum. Their major theses, “man is the measure of all things…” and “law is the advantage of the strong” attest to this. Given the above, this paper contends that such ideals if wholly applied in law and morality, could lead society to become more or less what Hobbes regarded as the ‘state of nature’ where chaos and may be oppression, would reign supreme. This in no way is to condemn entirely the sophists contributions to philosophy.

AJOL African Journals Online