Protagoras - New World Encyclopedia

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Protagoras (in Greek Πρωταγόρας) (c. 481 B.C.E. – c. 420 B.C.E.) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher born in Abdera in Ancient Greece. He was one of the best known Sophists. Protagoras is best known for his dictum: "Man is the measure of all things." He denied the existence of objective truth and values, replaced reality with appearance, and reduced truth to a matter of individual’s interpretation and perspective (perspectivism). Truth became thus relative to a group of people and individuals (relativism). Based upon the relativist view, as a Sophist he taught rhetorical skills to win arguments, thereby reducing philosophy from a quest for truth to mere skills of argumentation and persuasion. The shift of the locus of truth from the sphere of existence to language parallels an orientation of postmodernism. Both Socrates and Plato challenged his philosophy, and Plato named one of his dialogues after him.

1 Life and works 2 Philosophy 2.1 Relativism, subjectivism, and perspectivism 2.2 Agnosticism 3 Notes 4 References 5 External links 5.1 General Philosophy Sources 6 Credits

Life and works
Protagoras taught for nearly 40 years traveling Athens and surrounding cities, teaching the art of rhetoric and his philosophy to mostly wealthy Greek citizens. By the request of his friend Pericles, he drafted the laws of a new Greek colony Thurii. Protagoras wrote at least two books, Truth (or Refutatory Arguments or On Being) and On the Gods. His agnostic view of the gods presented in the latter caused his conviction on impiety and forced him to flee Athens, and his books were publicly burned. None of his works have survived except a few



George. Within this framework of thought. abbr. 1960) (This is the standard text for pre-Socratics. (eds). Princeton: Princeton University Press. Freeman. Plato. eternal. K. and of things which are not. Lamb. 80b1). Notes The Protagoras crater on the Moon was named in his honor. Plato II: Laches. that they are so. 1959. Die Fragmente der Vorsocratiker (Berlin: Weidmannsche Verlagsbuchhandlung. but can only argue what appears or looks real to each person. 2 vols. 1999: 85-192. David Slavitt and Palmer Bovie. people can no longer argue about what is “real” since there is no objective reality. by Carol Poster. 1981. Philosophy Relativism. D. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. In Aristophanes’ play.4/2/2014 Protagoras . In On the Gods. Cambridge. Cambridge. The Clouds. Protagoras neither denied nor affirmed the existence of gods but denied or was skeptical of the capacity of human beings to know gods. W. Truth and values become relative to each person (relativism). References Aristophanes. Protagoras is also the title of a dialogue by Plato. W. and Kranz. The Sophists. 4-5). K. He was discussed in Plato’s dialogues. R. that they are not" (DK. and perspectivism Protagoras is best known for the dictum: "Man is the measure of all things: of things which are. because of the obscurity of the subject. Philadelphia. against which both Socrates and Plato strongly challenged. and trans. Euthydemus. and the brevity of human life" (DK 80b4). G. Kerferd. W.newworldencyclopedia.) Guthrie. "Concerning the gods. and ultimately to individuals holding different beliefs and perspectives. I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not or of what sort they may be. ed. reality was replaced and reduced to appearance. Meno. MA: http://www. he wrote. Ancilla to the pre-Socratic philosophers (Cambridge. Diels. Protagoras and Theaetetus in particular. In Aristophanes 3. Trans. a philosophical position in the theory of knowledge. DK) Diogenes Laertius. (ed). truth became merely what appeared to people living in diverse traditions and customs. M. a teacher of rhetoric named Socrates was probably modeled after Protagoras or one of his followers.New World Encyclopedia fragments. Hicks. H. Trans. and unchanging criteria of truth. The Sophistic Movement. He denied the existence of objective. and his or her perspectives (perspectivism). MA: Harvard University Press. 1963. B. See Protagoras (dialogue). Agnosticism Protagoras was probably the first theological agnostic. the common criteria to establish the objectivity of truth was denied. MA: Harvard University Press. Protagoras. C. 1983) (a complete translation of the fragments in Diels and Kranz. The Art Of Persuasion In Greece.org/entry/Protagoras 2/4 . Intro. values. MA: Cambridge University Press. good and evil. subjectivism. ontologically. 1971 Kennedy. Lives Of Eminent Philosophers. Because the existence of unchanging truth. PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. and Aristotle’s Metaphysics (IV. which is not atheism but agnosticism. Clouds. R. Cambridge.

org/entry/Protagoras 3/4 . Plato VII: Theaetetus. Rosamund Kent.newworldencyclopedia.newworldencyclopedia.edu/p/protagor. The Older Sophists: A Complete Translation by Several Hands.org/w/index. Protagoras and Logos.newworldencyclopedia.iep. Sprague. Romilly. 1925.epistemelinks. at 15:18. Rankin. 2006) history (http://en.iep.eserver.edu/) Paideia Project Online (http://www. MA: Harvard University Press. 1953-59. H.gutenberg. http://www. Trans.org/plato/protagoras.html) The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http://www.wikipedia. 1992. Socratics & Cynics.php?title=Protagoras&action=history) Note: Some restrictions may apply to use of individual images which are separately licensed. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.stanford. Sextus Empiricus. D. Trans. Edward. Jaqueline de. SC: University of South Carolina Press.org/) Credits New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards.org/entry/Protagoras Categories: Philosophy | Philosophy and religion | Credited This page was last modified on 29 August 2008.stanford. London: Croom Helm.bu. Sophists. SC: University of South Carolina Press 1991.html) Plato on Knowledge in the Theaetetus (http://plato.htm) General Philosophy Sources Philosophy Sources on Internet EpistemeLinks (http://www.edu/wcp/PaidArch. G. Schiappa.4/2/2014 Protagoras . Cambridge.edu/Plato/protagoras.utm. 1967.edu/) Project Gutenberg (http://www. which may be used and disseminated with proper attribution.txt) Plato’s Protagoras Full-text (http://classics. N.edu/entries/plato-theaetetus/) Protagoras in The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http://www. Janet Lloyd. The Great Sophists In Periclean Athens. Trans. Sophist.org/entry/Special:Cite?page=Protagoras) for a list of acceptable citing formats. Sextus Empiricus. Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation.php?title=Protagoras&oldid=35051165) (Jan 19. To cite this article click here (http://www.mit. Columbia. MA: Harvard University Press. 4 vols. H.com/) Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http://plato. Cambridge. 1972. 1983.The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here: Protagoras (http://en.utm. Columbia. Fowler.wikipedia. ---.New World Encyclopedia Harvard University Press.0 License (CC-by-sa). Bury. R. Retrieved from http://www. This article abides by terms of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3.org/w/index. External links Plato’s Protagoras Full-text (http://philosophy. ed.

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