Abstract Isocrates uses the word philosophia, which he claims as his own métier, in three distinct ways: (i) practical wisdom common to all men; (ii) all systems of education; (iii) the system of education which he practices, the only true one. He makes use of oppositions among the three to conceal a paradox: that he wishes his own philosophia to be at the same time close to common wisdom, and to be unique in perfection and value. Like the speeches of Thucydides, his written works crystallize the everyday rhetoric of the polis but strip it of its oppositional aspect. They create a unified, harmonious logos politikos, seemly and decorous, but without the resource of his own critical judgement.
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