Minskaya Voblasts Travel on It has often been pointed out that the Sophists did not constitute a particular philosophical school. They were rather a profession, for the name sophistes, Practitioner of wisdom, which hitherto had had none but the most honourable connotation, came to be applied about the middle of the fifth century to a new class of itinerant teachers. An unprecedented hunger for rational guidance in practical affairs was arising at this time out of impatience with the natural philosophers and a growing doubt of the validity of traditional religious teaching. Speculation about the nature of reality had culminated in the opposite extremes of Eleaticism and atomism, the one declaring that all motion was illusion and the real world nothing but an immovable plenum, the other that the only realities were atoms and void and all perceptible qualities merely subjective. If either school were right, then the real nature of things was something utterly remote from the world in which, as it seems to common sense, we have to live our daily lives, and the ordinary man was quick to draw the conclusion that natural philosophy was of very little consequence to him. Before we blame him, we must remember the absence, first, of any experimental proof of their assertions, and secondly of any form of applied science. The physicist of to-day tells me equally that the desk which seems so solid under my typewriter is in fact a whirling maelstrom containing more empty space than solid matter. Minskaya Voblasts Travel 2016.
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