Self‐refutation and contradiction

Mi-Kyoung Lee

in Epistemology after Protagoras

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780199262229
Published online October 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602924 | DOI:
 Self‐refutation and contradiction

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In the so-called self-refutation argument of the Theaetetus, Plato has Socrates argue that Protagoras can be made to refute himself, and that someone who holds Protagoras’ position must admit that it is false. This is related to Aristotle’s claim in Metaphysics G5 that Protagoras is committed to denying or at least violating the principle of non-contradiction. Both Plato’s and Aristotle’s arguments are open to the objection that if Protagoras is espousing relativism about truth, then he has a way outby arguing that relativism is true for him, but false for those who don’t believe it. Aristotle recognizes this objection, but does not think it is successful.

Keywords: self-refutation; principle of non-contradiction; relativism; infallibilism; second-order beliefs; relativism of fact

Chapter.  17105 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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