Publisher Description

The Protagoras, like several of the Dialogues , is put into the mouth of Socrates, who describes a conversation which had taken place between himself and the great Sophist at the house of Callias. Lombardo and Bell have translated this important early dialogue on virtue, wisdom, and the nature of Sophistic teaching into an idiom remarkable for its liveliness and subtlety. Michael Frede has provided a substantial introduction that illuminates the dialogue's perennial interest, its Athenian political background, and the particular difficulties and ironic nuances of its argument.

November 3
Public Domain
Public Domain

Customer Reviews

Alex Rubenstein ,

Excellent analysis of virtue, pleasure/pain, and good/bad in the ST and LT

Protagoras is largely about the nature of virtue, and whether or not it can be taught.

Among this discussion is an analysis of the story of Prometheus, and why he took fire from the gods--very interesting.

They discuss the nature of virtue and the dimensions underlying it, such as wisdom, knowledge, courage, piety, and justice, and discuss their similarity as forming virtue, or whether they are distinct. The mathematically inclined reader will notice how this discussion is really about factor analysis and the issue of correlation.

Later, they discuss the issue of pleasure and pain and why people who know what is good for them still end up choosing bad courses of action. Much of this means whether or not pleasant things in the short term will actually yield pain in the long term, and goodness is the degree of measuring the proportion of pleasantness to painfulness in the span of their effects. If we can measure these, we should know the right course of action, and therefore be considered wise. Ignorance then, is what leads people to do wrong when there is a way of finding out what is actually good for them.

Later they discuss courageousness and cowardice and how these stem from ignorance of the dangers in pursuing an act, despite both the courageous and the cowards both having confidence, confidence is necessary but not sufficient for courage, since cowards are also confident. They just are ignorant of the dangers of their actions, whereas the courageous are knowledgable.

Great dialogue, albeit some of Socrates' questions are repeated with so many examples to get the same point across that it would be quite annoying to ever debate with him.

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