The name of is group of rhetorical scholars stems from sophistai, meaning “one who possesses wisdom.” They endeavored to show that there was no such thing as certainty, that knowledge was epistemic. Their timeline overlaps with the big names of Classical rhetoric; Aristotle, for example, was critical of the Sophists and their ideas. Based on the write up about them by Turner on the Catholic Encyclopedia, I wonder if the Sophists might be seen as constantly playing the devil’s advocate?

Noted Sophists include Protagoras, Gorgias, Hippias, and Prodicus.