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Sophistry and Political Philosophy – Protagoras' Challenge to Socrates - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Sophistry and Political Philosophy: Protagoras' Challenge to Socrates

Robert C. Bartlett


This study is the first to put together and analyze Plato’s two-part presentation of Protagoras, the most famous sophist of all time. In the Protagoras Plato sets out the sophist’s moral-political teaching, and in the Theaetetus we learn of his theoretical doctrine. Protagoras turns out to be a devout atheist contemptuous of all ordinary morality, and he claims on that basis to teach his best students what wisdom is. Going together with this harsh moral-political teaching is a daunting theoretical one, according to which “a human being is the measure of all things.” In Protagoras’ hands this a ... More

Keywords: sophistry, Protagoras, Socrates, political philosophy, Plato, relativism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780226394282
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226394312.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Robert C. Bartlett, author
Boston College

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Front Matter

Part One On the Protagoras

Part Two On the Theaetetus (142a1–183c7)

End Matter