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Relativism quote

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Relativism quote

Postby Geoff » Wed May 11, 2005 2:36 pm

I recently read that the first clear statement of relativism comes with the Sophist protagoras, as quoted by plato. Does anyone know the exact quote?
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Postby whiteoctave » Wed May 11, 2005 3:12 pm

Theaet. 152 A:

[face=SPIonic]tro/pon de/ tina a1llon ei1rhke ta\ au0ta\ tau=ta. fhsi\ ga/r[/face] [[face=SPIonic]o9 Prwtago/raj[/face]] [face=SPIonic]pou 'pa/ntwn xrhma/twn me/tron' a)/nqrwpon ei)=nai, tw=n me\n o)/ntwn w(j e)/sti, tw=n de\ mh\ o)/ntwn w(j ou)k e)/stin. [/face]

~D
Last edited by whiteoctave on Sat May 14, 2005 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby ThomasGR » Sat May 14, 2005 5:49 am

.. and what's the best translation into common English?
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Postby Thucydides » Sat May 14, 2005 1:24 pm

Isn't there one about the impossibility of finding out whether gods exist?
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Postby whiteoctave » Sat May 14, 2005 2:15 pm

if you mean a Platonic ref. to that doctrine, Theaet.162 and Crat.391b-c are the closest I know. Cicero puts it simply enough: Abderites quidem Protagoras...sophistes temporibus illis uel maximus, cum in principio libri sic posuisset ’de diuis neque ut sint neque ut non sint habeo dicere’, Atheniensium iussu urbe atque agro est exterminatus librique eius in contione combusti. (n.d.1.63)

~D
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Postby Skylax » Sat May 14, 2005 9:31 pm

ThomasGR wrote:.. and what's the best translation into common English?


At least a translation :

Only, he has said the same thing in a different way. For he says somewhere that man is “the measure of all things, of the existence of the things that are and the non-existence of the things that are not.” (From Perseus)
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Postby ThomasGR » Sun May 15, 2005 12:49 pm

...and now a translation for the Latin quote.
Sorry that I'm getting boring, but I'm interesting in those quotes :wink:
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Postby Skylax » Sun May 15, 2005 5:15 pm

Please, you are welcome :

As for Protagoras of Abdera ... who was quite the most eminent sophist of that time, it was in consequence of his stating at the beginning of his work, “With regard to the gods I am unable to say either that they exist or do not exist,” that he was banished by a decree of the Athenians from their city and territory, and his books burnt in the public assembly." (Translation by F. Brooks, 1896)
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Postby Thucydides » Sun May 15, 2005 5:17 pm

No... there was something more

Something about the two problems being the brevity of human life and ... something else.

Trouble is, people always give these quotes in English and without a reference.

tutut.
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Postby Skylax » Sun May 15, 2005 5:50 pm

From Plato, Protagoras 333e-334c : What is good in one case can be bad in another case.

"I know a number of things that are unprofitable to men, namely, foods, drinks, drugs, and countless others, and some that are profitable; some that are neither one nor the other to men, but are one or the other to horses; and some that are profitable only to cattle, or again to dogs; some also that are not profitable to any of those, but are to trees; and some that are good for the roots of a tree, but bad for its shoots--such as dung, [334b] which is a good thing when applied to the roots of all plants, whereas if you chose to cast it on the young twigs and branches, it will ruin all. And oil too is utterly bad for all plants, and most deadly for the hair of all animals save that of man, while to the hair of man it is helpful, as also to the rest of his body. The good is such an elusive and diverse thing that in this instance it is good for the outward parts of man's body, [334c] but at the same time as bad as can be for the inward; and for this reason all doctors forbid the sick to take oil, except the smallest possible quantity, in what one is going to eat--just enough to quench the loathing that arises in the sensations of one's nostrils from food and its dressings." (From Perseus)
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Postby Geoff » Mon May 16, 2005 1:43 am

Thanks for the Quotes I've found them quite helpful. I can't help but wonder if Protagoras knew that the Athenians existed and if it was wrong for them to burn the books :lol:
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