Platon, héritier de Protagoras: dialogue sur les fondements de la démocratie (Paris: Vrin, 2017). Euros: 35.00The title and subtitle of this well researched and carefully argued study raise two complicated themes whose interrelation is problematic. In two dialogues, the Protagoras and the Theaetetus, Plato focuses on the sophist Protagoras. In the first we find the myth about the foundation of the city in which Protagoras offers a justification for the practice of allowing any citizen in the assembly to speak about the affairs of the city, i.e., Zeus has endowed all with the civic traits of shame and justice. The author takes this account to be an argument not just for the practice in question but for the entire institution of democracy. Then, in the Theaetetus, Socrates—speaking in the voice of Protagoras—offers an elaborate account of a version of the latter’s famous claim that man is the measure of all things. The author then argues that this relativism is appropriate for democracy, in which all citizens are thought to be competent to guide the affairs of the city. While the civic traits of shame and justice are refracted through individual perceptions, the resultant relativism can be tamed by
International Journal of the Platonic Tradition – Brill
Published: Apr 20, 2018
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