Zizek on the Sophists as Anti-Philosophers of the Gap: Quote of the Day!

Sophists are the irreducible “vanishing mediators” between mythos and logos, between the traditional mythic universe and philosophical rationality, and, as such, they are a permanent threat to philosophy. Why is this the case? The sophists broke down the mythic unity of words and things, playfully insisting on the gap that separates words from things; and philosophy proper can only be understood as a reaction to this, as an attempt to close the gap the sophists opened up, to provide a foundation of truth for words, to return to mythos but under the new conditions of rationality. This is where one should locate Plato: he first tried to provide this foundation with his teaching on Ideas, and when, in Parmenides, he was forced to admit the fragility of that foundation, he engaged in a long struggle to re-establish a clear line of separation between sophistics and truth.  The irony of the history of philosophy is that the line of philosophers who struggle against the sophistic temptation ends with Hegel, the “last philosopher,” who, in a way, is also the ultimate sophist, embracing the self-referential play of the symbolic with no external support of its truth. For Hegel, there is truth, but it is immanent to the symbolic process— the truth is measured not by an external standard, but by the “pragmatic contradiction,” the inner (in) consistency of the discursive process, the gap between the enunciated content and its position of enunciation.1

1. Zizek, Slavoj (2012-04-30). Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism (Kindle Locations 1950-1962). Norton. Kindle Edition.