Whenever Socrates diagnoses an internal contradiction in a speaker, he immediately disqualifies that speech a non-evident, exposing the speaker as unfit for the just exercise of state power. Socrates’ questions break through the smooth, glittering surfaces of sophistical speech and uncover its contradictory, paradoxical core. It emerges that such speech only superficially appears to be well-knit and coherent. In its internal logical structure, however, it is obscure and dark because it is paradoxical. Hence, such speech cannot serve as a manifestation of clear and evident thinking but is good only as a commodity in the marketplace of ideas. The principle reproach directed against the sophists is that they compose their speeches solely for the sake of payment. This allows for an initial definition to be given for the functioning of paradox: a paradox that conceals its paradoxical nature becomes a commodity.
- Boris Groys, The Communist Postscript