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Encyclopedia > Protagoras (dialogue)
This article is part of the series:
The Dialogues of Plato
Socratic Dialogues : Socrates,

the Virtues, the Sophists Image File history File links Plato-raphael. ... Socrates (Greek: Σωκράτης, invariably anglicized as , Sǒcratēs; 470–399 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher who is widely credited for laying the foundation for Western philosophy. ... Virtue (Latin virtus; Greek ) is moral excellence of a man or a woman. ... Sophism was originally a term for the techniques taught by a highly respected group of philosophy and rhetoric teachers in ancient Greece. ...

Hippias Minor
First Alcibiades
LysisHippias MajorIon
The great dialogues : theory of forms,

politics, death, dialectic, love. Hippias Minor (or On Lying) is one of Platos early dialogues, written while the author was still young, although the exact date has not been established. ... The First Alcibiades or Alcibiades I is a dialogue featuring Alcibiades in conversation with Socrates, ascribed to Plato, but his authorship is doubtful, though probably written by someone within a century or two of Platos other works. ... Euthyphro is one of Platos known early dialogues. ... Laches, also known as Courage, is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato, and concerns the topic of courage. ... The Charmides (Greek: ) is a dialogue of Plato, discussing the nature and utility of temperance. ... Lysis is one of the socratic dialogues written by Plato and discusses the nature of friendship. ... Hippias Major (or What is Beauty) is one of the dialogues of Plato. ... Platos Ion aims to give an account of poetry in dialogue form. ... Euthydemus (Euthydemos), written 380 BCE, is dialogue by Plato which satirizes the logical fallacies of the Sophists. ... Gorgias refers to the last dialogue that Plato wrote before leaving Athens. ... The Menexenus is a Socratic dialogue of Plato, traditionally included in the seventh tetralogy along with the Greater and Lesser Hippias and the Ion. ... Meno is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato. ... Critias, a dialogue of Platos, speaks about a variety of subjects. ... (The) Apology (of Socrates) is Platos version of the speech given by Socrates as he defends himself against the charges of being a man who corrupted the young, did not believe in the gods, and created new deities. Apology here has its earlier meaning (now usually expressed by the... The Crito (IPA [kriːtɔːn]; in English usually [ˈkɹiːtɘʊː]) is a well-known dialogue by the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, between Socrates and his follower the rich Athenian Crito (or Criton), regarding the source and nature of political obligation. ... Cratylus (Κρατυλος) is the name of a dialogue by Plato, written in approximately 360 BC. In the dialogue, Socrates is asked by two men, Cratylus and Hermogenes, to advise them whether names are conventional or natural, that is, whether language is a system of arbitrary signs or whether words have an... The Theory of Forms typically refers to Platos belief that the material world as it seems to us is not the real world, but only a shadow of the real world. ...

PhaedoThe Symposium
The RepublicPhaedrus
The late dialogues :

Criticism of the theory of forms, The Phaedo (pronounced FEE-doh) is the fourth and last dialogue detailing the final days of Socrates and contains the death scene. ... A fresco taken from the north wall of the Tomb of the Diver featuring an image of a symposium The Symposium is a Socratic dialogue by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, student of Socrates, focusing on Eros (love) and its place in the philosophic path. ... The Republic (Greek ) is an influential work of philosophy and political theory by the Greek philosopher Plato, written in approximately 390 BC. It is written in the format of a Socratic dialogue. ... Platos Phaedrus is a dialogue between Socrates and Phaedrus. ...

cosmology, politics, metaphysics

The SophistPhilebus
The StatesmanTimaeus
Of doubtful authenticity
Second Alcibiades – The Rivals
Theages – Epinomis – Minos

Protagoras is the title of one of Plato's dialogues. The Theætetus is a dialogue by Plato. ... Parmenides is one of the dialogues of Plato. ... The Sophist (Greek: Σοφιστής) is one of the late Dialogues of Plato, which was written much more lately than the Parmenides and the Theaetetus, probably in 360 BC.After he criticized his own Theory of Forms in the Parmenides, Plato proceeds in the Sophist with a new conception of the Forms... Philebus is among the last of the late Socratic dialogues of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. ... The Statesman, or Politikos in Greek and Politicus in Latin, is a four part dialogue contained within the work of Plato. ... Timaeus is a theoretical treatise of Plato in the form of a Socratic dialogue, written circa 360 BC The work puts forward speculation on the nature of the physical world. ... The Laws is Platos last and longest dialogue. ... The Second Alcibiades or Alcibiades II is a dialogue ascribed to Plato, featring Alcibiades conversing with Socrates, but there is a general consensus amongst scholars that this text is spurious, though again probably written by someone within a century or two of Platos other works. ... The Epinomis is a dialogue in the style of Plato, but today considered spurious by most scholars. ... The Clitophon, a dialogue generally ascribed to Plato, is significant for focusing on Socrates role as an exhorter of other people to engage in philosophic inquiry. ... For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ... This article belongs in one or more categories. ...

The title refers to the main character Protagoras, a philosopher who belonged to the Sophists. In this dialogue, Plato places himself in opposition to the Sophists and their style of philosophical inquiry, which he believes favors disingenuous word games over substantive and earnest thought. Protagoras (in Greek Πρωταγόρας) was born around 481 BC in Abdera, Thrace in Ancient Greece. ... Sophism was originally a term for the techniques taught by a highly respected group of philosophy and rhetoric teachers in ancient Greece. ...

The work consists of a discussion between Socrates and Protagoras, mainly dealing with the teachability of arete, or virtue. Protagoras argues that society is capable of instilling a sense of justice in the individual. This is achieved through instruction (ex: schools) or punishment (ex: prisons). He further argues that if an individual is aware of what is good and what is bad, they will never commit evil. Socrates (Greek: Σωκράτης, invariably anglicized as , Sǒcratēs; 470–399 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher who is widely credited for laying the foundation for Western philosophy. ... Protagoras (in Greek Πρωταγόρας) was born around 481 BC in Abdera, Thrace in Ancient Greece. ... Arete (Greek ) was a minor Ancient Greek goddess of virtue, daughter of the goddess of justice Praxidike. ... Virtue (Latin virtus; Greek ) is moral excellence of a man or a woman. ... In religion and ethics, Evil refers to the bad aspects of the behaviour and reasoning of human beings —those which are deliberately void of conscience, and show a wanton desire for destruction. ...

Socrates tries to show that this is an overly simplistic notion, first by demonstrating the difficulty of defining arete and isolating it from similar, but not identical notions such as "courage" or "wisdom", and secondly by getting Protagoras to admit that people sometimes willingly commit bad or evil acts even if they are aware that they are wrong. He also advances an idea similar to Jeremy Bentham's Principle of Utility, arguing that true wisdom is the ability to accurately determine which actions will produce the greatest pleasure and the least pain and to act accordingly. Socrates concludes that people commit evil acts because they lack the wisdom to assess their impact accurately. Jeremy Bentham (IPA: or ) (February 15, 1748 O.S. (February 26, 1749 N.S.) – June 6, 1832) was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. ...

Ultimately, Socrates and Protagoras agree that arete is a form of knowledge or wisdom which is therefore capable of being taught, although they are in substantial disagreement about how to go about doing so.

Another interesting area of this dialogue is the examination of the sophist Protagoras, the man whose name titles the dialogue. Protagoras is evidently a teacher of the political art for hire, and a sophist. He is unique in that unlike other sophists, he has no qualms about proclaiming publicly that he is a sophist, an occupation that was looked down upon, as one can see in many of the comedies of Aristophanes. Particularly interesting about Protagoras is that as he undergoes Socrates' examinations, his remarks imply that he believes that there are no gods, that oligarchy is the best form of government, and that he believes Socrates to share his views. Socrates disagrees, and notes that there is a considerable distinction between the two, a remark that raises questions regarding his political beliefs, and implies that he is opposed to the current system of government in Athens: direct democracy. Bust of Aristophanes Aristophanes (Greek: ΄Αριστοφανης, c. ... Oligarchy is a form of government where most or all political power effectively rests with a small segment of society (typically the most powerful, whether by wealth, family, military strength, ruthlessness, or political influence). ... Athens (Greek: Αθήνα, Athína IPA: ) is the capital and largest city of Greece and the birthplace of democracy. ... Direct democracy, classically termed pure democracy,[1] comprises a form of democracy and theory of civics wherein sovereignty is lodged in the assembly of all citizens who choose to participate. ...

  • Athens fell for many reasons. One of which was the destructive nature of Sophism. As a result, Sophism was looked down upon.
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  Results from FactBites:
Protagoras [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy] (2213 words)
Protagoras of Abdera was one of several fifth century Greek thinkers (including also Gorgias, Hippias, and Prodicus) collectively known as the Older Sophists, a group of traveling teachers or intellectuals who were experts in rhetoric (the science of oratory) and related subjects.
Protagoras is known primarily for three claims (1) that man is the measure of all things (which is often interpreted as a sort of radical relativism) (2) that he could make the "worse (or weaker) argument appear the better (or stronger)" and (3) that one could not tell if the gods existed or not.
In the Protagoras, the Platonic dialogue named after the famous sophist which has both Protagoras and Prodicus as participants, Protagoras is shown interpreting a poem of Simonides, with special concern for the issue of the relationship between the writer's intent and the literal meanings of the words.
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