Plato's Protagoras the Hedonist

Classical Philology 113 (3):224-244 (2016)
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I advocate an ad hominem reading of the hedonism that appears in the final argument of the Protagoras. I that attribute hedonism both to the Many and to Protagoras, but my focus is on the latter. I argue that the Protagoras in various ways reflects Plato’s view that the sophist is an inevitable advocate for, and himself implicitly inclined toward, hedonism, and I show that the text aims through that characterization to undermine Protagoras’ status as an educator. One of my objectives in the course of my arguments is to explore connections between the final argument of the Protagoras and the Man-Measure Doctrine as it is developed in the Theaetetus.

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Joshua Wilburn
Wayne State University


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