Electronic writing technologies and the Third Sophistic

Daniel Duarte, University of Texas at El Paso


A Third Sophistic, as defined in this treatise, entails Greek sophistic pedagogy and epistemology from the third and fourth century B.C.E. that is analogous to sophistic elements in writing software, notably, Microsoft Word and Corel WordPerfect. The early Greek rhetoricians, Gorgias chief among them, were the subjects of disparagement from Plato, Isocrates, and others for receiving payment for their instruction using formatted speeches that emphasized style and delivery to evoke emotional responses from their audiences. Their instruction of students is associated with manipulation of language, and use of language that they, in their words, described as “magical” to hold spellbound their audience. Thus we inherit the negative term “sophistry.” ^ Demonstrations of the parallels and resonances between early Greek teachers of rhetoric to our present electronic writing technology and word processing software programs lead us to important considerations of how Greek sophistic pedagogy may ultimately manifest itself in today's modern classroom and workplace. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)^

Subject Area

Education, Language and Literature|Language, Rhetoric and Composition|Education, Technology of

Recommended Citation

Duarte, Daniel, "Electronic writing technologies and the Third Sophistic" (2004). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAIEP10540.