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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents a reading of Protagoras and Gorgias. The two dialogues, whatever the relative chronology, both present conversations marked by skilfull characterization and show Plato’s ability to encourage serious philosophical reflection through the interplay of vividly drawn participants. Protagoras and Gorgias also share a feature that is surely the origin of many of the frustrations felt by various interpreters. In both cases, Socrates is determined to dismiss certain views of human virtue and the value of sophistic education and also to insist on the importance of rational order in a person’s life. But, unlike in dialogues such as the Phaedo and Republic, he does so as far as possible without setting out and then relying on detailed and substantial claims of his own about the nature and structure of a human soul and the nature of ethical knowledge.

Keywords: Plato, Protagoras, Gorgias, dialogues, philosophy, Socrates

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