Rereading sophistical arguments: A political intervention

Jane Sutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This essay argues that Aristotle's categories of oratory are not as useful in judging the methods of Sophistical rhetoric as his presentation of time. The Sophistical argumentative method of "making the weaker the stronger case" is re-evaluated as a political practice. After showing this argument's relation to power and ideology, Aristotle's philosophy, which privileges a procedure of argument consistent with the politics of a polis-ideal rhetoric, is offered as reason for objecting to Sophistical rhetoric. The essay concludes that Sophistical rhetoric prefers the concept of possibility over Aristotelian actuality, and offers a need for an ideological space of radical, generative possibility in rhetorical theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-157
Number of pages17
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


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