First of all, these ancients regularly accused each other of sophistry to promote their own views. Lots of people do that, but in this instance they had good reason: because it was all sophistry. I don’t think the similarity between sophistry and philosophy ends in the roots of those words and I begin to suspect that they are to a large degree synonymous – at least as far as the ancients go. Ideas like the four elements (fire, water, earth and air) appeared there and wasted the time of alchemists and countless others for centuries before someone realized it was all nonsense.
Having started from similarly false premises Aristotle frequently uses comparisons between disparate entities such as a human and a horse to distinguish between types of ‘forms’, ‘substances‘, ‘mixtures’ and ‘matter’. I will use a human and a chicken as an example instead. A human may be white and a chicken may be white – therefore they are the same. Further proof of this is shown by the fact that they are both bipedal. That same reasoning is typical of many examples used by Aristotle.
This might be comical if Aristotle didn't attempt to prove it by a long-windedness that makes one suspect that he later reincarnated, changed his vocation and wrote verbose fictions under the pen name Henry James*. Having read seventeen of that author’s works I find the sentence length and readability too suspiciously like Aristotle’s to rule out the possibility.
If one persists, a good dictionary within reach may help. The words apodeictic, tellurcircumambient and noctilatent appeared within two pages of the work and are just a sampling of the ‘philosophistspeakishry’ that always inundates these translations. No practical reason exists for dredging up or inventing compound Greek or Latin words that can be expressed more succinctly in plain English, but it seems to be a contagion that infects those studying and writing philosophy. However, while this verbal diarrhea is perhaps meant to appear scholarly, the result is that most readers will question whether reference to a dictionary will unravel any of the meaning or not.
I read and collect Penguin Classics. As for critics who think that I know nothing of philosophy - that may be true - not being a true sophist at heart myself.
In one of his earlier films a character played by Woody Allen said that he had studied just enough philosophy to screw him up for the rest of his life. Perhaps I’m reaching that point.
*American journalist and author Harold Frederic (1856-1898) in a letter characterized James as - “an effeminate old donkey who lives with a herd of other donkeys around him and insists on being treated as if he were the Pope. He has licked the dust from the floor of every third rate hostess in England.”