Sophistry And Political Philosophy: Protagoras' Challenge To Socrates by Robert C. Bartlett

Sophistry And Political Philosophy: Protagoras' Challenge To Socrates

byRobert C. Bartlett

Hardcover | September 12, 2016

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One of the central challenges to contemporary political philosophy is the apparent impossibility of arriving at any commonly agreed upon “truths.” As Nietzsche observed in his Will to Power, the currents of relativism that have come to characterize modern thought can be said to have been born with ancient sophistry. If we seek to understand the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary radical relativism, we must therefore look first to the sophists of antiquity—the most famous and challenging of whom is Protagoras.

With Sophistry and Political Philosophy, Robert C. Bartlett provides the first close reading of Plato’s two-part presentation of Protagoras. In the “Protagoras,” Plato sets out the sophist’s moral and political teachings, while the “Theaetetus,” offers a distillation of his theoretical and epistemological arguments. Taken together, the two dialogues demonstrate that Protagoras is attracted to one aspect of conventional morality—the nobility of courage, which in turn is connected to piety. This insight leads Bartlett to a consideration of the similarities and differences in the relationship of political philosophy and sophistry to pious faith. Bartlett’s superb exegesis offers a significant tool for understanding the history of philosophy, but, in tracing Socrates’s response to Protagoras’ teachings, Bartlett also builds toward a richer understanding of both ancient sophistry and what Socrates meant by “political philosophy.”
 

About The Author

Robert C. Bartlett is the Behrakis Professor of Hellenic Political Studies at Boston College. He is the author or editor or seven books, including The Idea of Enlightenment, Plato’s “Protagoras” and “Meno,” and Xenophon’s The Shorter Socratic Writings, and cotranslator of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, also published by the University...
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Details & Specs

Title:Sophistry And Political Philosophy: Protagoras' Challenge To SocratesFormat:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:September 12, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022639428X

ISBN - 13:9780226394282

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction
Part One: On the Protagoras
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Part Two: On the Theaetetus (142a1–183c7)
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Conclusion
Notes
References
Index

Editorial Reviews

“This book is a careful, insightful, analysis of Plato’s Protagoras, and of the examination of Protagoras’ teaching in Plato’s Theaetetus. Through his discussions, Bartlett provides us with a very thoughtful exploration of the important and enduring problem of the relation between philosophy and sophistry.”