Pluralism and Protagoras: the plurality of truth

Lauren J. Apfel

in The Advent of Pluralism

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199600625
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191724985 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Classical Monographs

Pluralism and Protagoras: the plurality of truth

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This chapter focuses on the sophist Protagoras and his relationship with the concept of truth (alētheia). It examines two of his most important fragments: the man‐measure statement and the two‐logoi principle. Through an analysis of these doctrines, the chapter contends that Protagoras held that perspectives on truth are plural. The crux of the argument is that, in holding this belief, Protagoras was not espousing either relativism or subjectivism, as has been traditionally argued. Rather, his position is very much in tune with modern pluralism, which is able to accommodate the marriage of objectivity and conflict in a single philosophical theory. The chapter also discusses the ways in which Protagoras might have dealt with conflict between truths.

Keywords: protagoras; truth; aletheia; man‐measure; two‐logoi; relativism; subjectivism; pluralism; objectivity; conflict

Chapter.  14476 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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