Tuesday, October 07, 2008


SOPHISTRY, n. The controversial method of an opponent, distinguished from one's own by superior insincerity and fooling. This method is that of the later Sophists, a Grecian sect of philosophers who began by teaching wisdom, prudence, science, art and, in brief, whatever men ought to know, but lost themselves in a maze of quibbles and a fog of words.
His bad opponent's "facts" he sweeps away,
And drags his sophistry to light of day;
Then swears they're pushed to madness who resort
To falsehood of so desperate a sort.
Not so; like sods upon a dead man's breast,
He lies most lightly who the least is pressed.
—Polydore Smith
2008 Update:  Persuasion by deceptive reasoning rather than by bribery, flattery, sympathy, grievance, compulsion or tribe.  


TLP said...

I'm first, but I don't really care about being first. Any of you good people can come along and declare that you are first and I won't mind.

TLP said...

SOPHISTRY: standard political election policy.

tsduff said...

Sophistry: A term to sophisticated for me to use - I'm no wise-ist.

Anonymous said...

SOPHISTRY, n. A touchdown in women's rugby. I could enter into a long-winded explanation of how it came to be sophistry and not, say, bettistry. But I don't gamble.

Anonymous said...

Sophistry...method used to corral "average joe & jill" into believing that America is a democracy(its a republic,at best) and that America has a capitalism economy,yet USA has backed house purchases since at least 1938(new deal)-last eight years indicate a neo-fascism approach to economic slavery...Peace Always---(see capitalism in a test tube,Iceland experimented with concept,in under 20 years country and government is BANKRUPT)...

Anonymous said...

I'm not proud, I'll say I'm first, because it is written(somewhere - just believe me), when you are fifth or sixth it means you are a thinking man who doesn't lean toward impulsive actions, a character which is highly regarded and desired in a leader and in a line.

What was the word again?

Jamie Dawn said...

I like Doug's definition a lot.
I will not attempt to top it or even add my two measly cents.

TLP: I'm first!!
I call firsties!!
I claim first spot!!


Tom & Icy said...

We tend to believe our friends even when they are wrong.

I like the tv comercial where they were having a board meeting and the people at the table kept acting and talking like people in a comment box; one would yell, I'm first! Then a spam guy came in and he couldn't a read a verifier word and had to leave.

Anonymous said...

Sophistry? Isn't that what you do to the last bit of gravy on your plate with your last bit of biscuit -- sop it up so it's history?

Anonymous said...

Legal, administrative, and political arguments. Does not preclude the alternative methods listed by Doug.

Ariel the Thief said...

Sophistry, false reasoning, although there's no difference between false reasoning and true reasoning because all reasonings are made up just to confirm our points whatever they are.

Anonymous said...


Mother: Why does your math test paper have a big O? You did not study?

Child: It is not a zero ma, the teacher was so impressed with me that rather than giving me stars like the others, she gave me a big MOON :)

Doug The Una said...

To be first, TLP, is to be early for last I reason. But the definition is apt.

Terry, sincerity is a form of disability.

Amoeba, that's not sapphistry?

Bear, your relatives and you might want to meet in Vancouver, say.

Cooper, you are wise and first. By that reasoning we should inaugurate the 6th place vote-getter which could easily be you.

Jamie Dawn, you and TLP should rent a giraffe costume to wear in first place.

Icy, I haven't seen that ad. Unless you meant Waking Ambrose.

That is appropriate, Actonbell, by a kind of tortured reasoning. Beauty and dishonesty like peas and carrots.

Uh, yes, Quill?

No weirsdo, it incorporates them. Seamlessly.

Ariel, that is a perfect example.

Ahsmirak, where were you when I was in school?