Political Philosophy and Sophistry: An Introduction to Plato's Protagoras


Robert C. Bartlett is Associate Professor of Political Science, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322 (rcbartl@emory.edu).


This study of Plato's Protagoras seeks not only to advance the understanding of ancient sophistry, a task both important in its own right and essential to the study of the history of political thought, but also to lay a foundation for subsequent inquiries into the connection between ancient sophistry and the relativism characteristic of our age. According to the Protagoras, the chief difference between philosopher and sophist is that the latter wrongly believes himself to be beyond or above the concern for justice as a virtue; the examination of Protagoras' moral teaching, then, proves to be the key to understanding him and therewith the intellectual position he represents.