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Man the Measure of All Things: Socrates Versus Protagoras (I)


The study of Plato has become involved in so many entanglements of higher criticism that it is difficult even to approach the interpretation of any particular dialogue without bias or preconceptions. A swarm of problems starts up for settlement as a preliminary consideration to the correct understanding of Plato’s aims in writing the dialogue, and there is a danger lest its precise issue and philosophical value may be obscured by discussions about its place in the chronological order of the dialogues, as to whether it expresses the views of Socrates or of Plato, or represents a particular stage in the development of Plato's own thought, and so on. That this danger is real is forcibly suggested by a remark of Professor Taylor: “To understand a great thinker is, of course, impossible, unless we know something of the relative order of his works and of the actual period of his life to which they belong....We cannot, then, even make a beginning with the study of Plato until we have found some trustworthy indication of the order in which his works, or at least the most significant of them, were written.”

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page 27 note 1 Plato , The Man and His Works, p. 16.

page 27 note 2 Ibid., p. 3.

page 27 note 3 Burnet, Greek Philosophy, §§ 178, 186.

page 28 note 1 Vide The Growth of Plato's Ideal Theory, p. 19.

page 28 note 2 Platonism, in Our Debt to Greece and Rome Series, p. 56.

page 29 note 1 I refer,e.g., to the line of thought in pp. 184–186.

page 29 note 2 Space, Time and Deity, vol. ii, pp. 81–82.

page 29 note 3 A Study of Realism, p. 18.

page 30 note 1 Cp. Smith Kemp, Prolegomena to an Idealist Theory of Knowledge, p. 71.

page 30 note 2 Theæt., 170C.

page 30 note 3 Ibid., 160C and 152C.

page 30 note 4 Ibid., 152A.

page 30 note 5 Appearance and Reality, 1st ed., p. 509.

page 31 note 1 Phædo, p. 118.

page 31 note 2 Trans. in the Loeb Series.

page 31 note 3 Apol., 21B ff.

page 31 note 4 Theæt., 179B.

page 32 note 1 inline-graphicTheæt., 150B.

page 32 note 2 3 “Intellectual Midwifery”

page 32 note 3 149A–151E.

page 32 note 4 Cp. Thecet., 210C.

page 33 note 1 Republic, 348A–B.

page 33 note 2 Theat., 173C. Cp. Gorgias, 472A–C, 487E, and Protag., 338B–E, for similar descriptions of the method.

page 34 note 1 Soph., 230A–E.

page 34 note2 Cf. Phesdo, 61A, inline-graphicand Burnet, Greek Philosophy, § 24.

page 34 note 3 Theæst., 150B, 210C

page 34 note 4 Apol., 30A.

page 34 note 5 Theæst., 161D, 167D, and passim.

page 34 note 6 Meno, 91D.

page 34 note 3 Theat., 150B, 210C.

page 34 note 3 Theæt., 150B, 210C.

page 34 note 4 Apol., 30A.

page 34 note 5 Theæt., 161D, 167D, and passim.

page 34 note 6 Meno, 91D.

page 34 note 7 Rep., 600C.

page 34 note 8 Theæt., 152B.

page 35 note 1 Theæt., 169C.

page 36 note 1 154E, inline-graphic

page 36 note 2 150C, inline-graphic157C, 161B.

page 36 note 3 151C–E, 157D, 160E.

page 36 note 4 146B.

page 36 note 5 165A.

page 36 note 6 150E.

page 36 note 7 148E.

page 36 note 8 150C–D.

page 36 note 9 151A.

page 36 note 10 152A. Loeb Trans.

page 37 note 1 152A.

page 37 note 2 152B.

page 37 note 3 This level of experience is illustrated in the dialogue by the feeling of temperature, the five senses, the apprehension of more or less of quantity in number and size, pleasure and pain, the appetite, and emotions of fear, and dreams.

page 37 note 4 Theæt., 167D, 179B.

page 37 note 5 Theæt., 153D. “Yes, Socrates, I think he means what you say he does.”

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