Plato essay protagoras

Pythagoreanism Although Socrates influenced Plato directly as related in the dialogues, the influence of Pythagoras upon Plato also appears to have significant discussion in the philosophical literature. Pythagoras, or in a broader sense, the Pythagoreans, allegedly exercised an important influence on the work of Plato.

Plato essay protagoras

On a first reading, the different sections of the dialogue may seem to have little to do with each other.

Plato and his dialogues: a list of Plato's works

In fact, connections do exist between these apparently disparate parts, although they tend not Plato essay protagoras be on the level of narrative, explicit argumentative theme, or literary style.

The dialogue begins with a conversation between Socrates and an anonymous friend. The rest of the dialogue is presented as being told by Socrates to this friend. However, the friend does not reappear at the end of the dialogue, so that the text is oddly unfinished as a narrative.

The story Socrates tells involves the presence in Athens of the famous Sophist Protagoras, at the time the most famous thinker in Greece. Socrates relates how he is awoken by a friend, Hippocrates, who is excited by the arrival of Protagoras, and who intends to become Protagoras's disciple.

But when Socrates questions Hippocrates as to what he hopes to learn from Protagoras, Hippocrates is unable to answer. The two set out to ask Protagoras himself exactly what it is he teaches. The main dialogue begins when Socrates starts to question Protagoras about what he teaches his pupils.

Protagoras asserts that he educates his students in politics and in how to manage personal affairs. But Socrates questions whether this is really a subject that can be taught. Protagoras responds by giving a long speech about the creation of the world. Virtue is indeed teachable, argues Protagoras, because political systems are founded on the basis that all citizens can possess virtue.

Similarly, systems of criminal justice are based on the notion that people can be reformed—that is, taught how to be virtuous. Socrates then shifts the subject of discussion to focus more precisely on what virtue is exactly.

Is it one thing, or many things? But this line of argument has not progressed very far before the dialogue breaks down completely. Socrates and Protagoras begin bickering over how long their answers to each other's questions should be: Socrates favors short answers and rapid questioning, while Protagoras prefers to be able to answer at length.

Other speakers interpose, and persuade the two to return to the subject at hand.

General Summary

Protagoras will question Socrates first, and then Socrates will take his turn. Protagoras takes this opportunity to switch the subject to a poem by Simonides.

Plato essay protagoras

Having pointed out a contradiction, Protagoras challenges Socrates to respond. Socrates's argument is ingenious: In Socrates's interpretation, the poem contends that it is hard to become good but that it is impossible to be good all the time, for humans are forced to behave badly by inevitable misfortunes.

As Socrates argues, the only evil is a lack of knowledge, because it is impossible to behave badly knowing what is good. Socrates continues to pursue this line of reasoning when it is his turn to ask Protagoras questions.


The only good, Socrates reasons, is pleasure; to commit an evil action is to unwittingly opt for pain over pleasure. What is needed is a technique that can unfailingly identify what is the more pleasurable course of action in any situation. Having gained Protagoras's assent to this position, Socrates then argues that cowardice is failing to fear the right things, and fearing things that should not be feared.

Plato essay protagoras

Courage, too, is therefore a form of knowledge. Protagoras has previously accepted that wisdom, temperance, justice and holiness all name the same thing: Socrates has proved at least to the satisfaction of Protagoras that courage is also synonymous with these other terms, and that virtue itself is simply another name for knowledge.

If virtue is knowledge, then it can be taught. Thus, both Protagoras and Socrates end up arguing the opposite of their positions at the beginning of the text, and the dialogue ends with Socrates complaining about a missed appointment.An Examination of the Laches, Meno, and Protagoras In the Socratic dialogues of Plato, Socrates often argues against the pretence of knowledge in his interlocutors.

From the SparkNotes Blog

In the case of the Laches, Meno, and Protagoras dialogues, the pretence is the knowledge of virtue, among other things. This article introduces Plato's dialogue the Theaetetus (section 1), and briefly summarises its plot (section 2).

Two leading interpretations of the dialogue, the Unitarian and Revisionist readings, are contrasted in section 3. Protagoras (/ p r oʊ ˈ t æ ɡ ə r ə s /; Greek: Πρωταγόρας) is a dialogue by Plato.

The traditional subtitle (which may or may not be Plato's) is "or the Sophists". The traditional subtitle (which may or may not be Plato's) is "or the Sophists".

(Cornford, Protagoras, Plato and Relativism),(Tanner H. Sewell, Department of Psychology, Virginia Military Institute, Lexington VA, ) CONCLUSION Based on the Research that our group conducted about Protagoras, we didn’t believe that “man is the measure of all things”.We believe that god is the measure of all things simply because.

Protagoras (dialogue) - Wikipedia

Plato Reading Protagoras Essay Plato The Protagoras Penguin Books, , pages In this extract, Plato presents the sophist!i.e., professional philosopher" Protagoras talking with Socrates about how people become good.

The extract contains a theory of moral education, and a theory of punishment. Looking to a separate portion of the text, Socrates puts it to Protagoras that acting on pure desire is acting in ignorance (Plato , e2), and indeed this is the only logical conclusion to draw from the assumption of the tripartite soul.

Summary of Plato’s Protagoras | Free Essays -