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Protagoras That Man Is The Measure All Things Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 1300 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Man is the measure of all things. That’s what Protagoras stated. He said that as if man can do whatever he wanted to do in this world. He defended that by means of mans opinion on a certain topic. Actually what Protagoras is saying is somewhat right. In the bible, man is the manager of the world. But on that time, there is no bible to back what he is saying. That’s why other philosophers like Plato contradicted his notion.

So how can Protagoras defend his notion of man is the me7asure of all things? Does Protagoras will win the argument or not?


This research aims to reconstruct the philosophy of The Sophist Protagoras through his notion that man is the measure of all things. But for us, this statement is far from obvious, he stated that, as if man holds the rights, but we the researchers, will try to prove that his beliefs has some holes, and we know that this Philosopher had an intelligent mind in his age he give a different conclusion in every situation that surrounds him. But we will try our very best just to contradict what he perceives himself that man is the measure of all things, man can do whatever he pleases to himself, and had a right to give a perception on the subject matter. But does man is the highest form in this world? Does the idea to the creator of man really exist? Or there is someone that will best fit the title of the measure of all things.

Statement of the problem

This study sought to answer the following questions.

1. What is the ambiguity of Protagoras notion, “man is the measure of all things”? 2. What influenced Plato to contradict the notion of Protagoras? 3. Is Man is the highest form in this world?

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Scope and Limitation

Orthoepeia, Man is the measure of all things, and Agnosticism are the three great doctrines of Protagoras. Those are well known philosophies that serve as the basis of this modern period. While reading his philosophies, we the researchers suddenly became confuse about his notion of man is the measure of all things. So we focus on that notion of him.

Man is the measure of all things, that’s what Protagoras believes. An individual can state a certain opinion to a certain topic. He believes that whatever opinion of a man on a topic is definitely right. Other people can’t object about the opinion of others. Is really man is the measure of all things?

Significance of the study

What will the students and teachers will get when they read this research? For the students, this paper will help them to understand about Protagoras and his notion and it tends to give some ideas why some philosopher argued about his notion. For the teachers, this research will help them to give more information about what philosophers think in every situation.


“Man is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not” Protagoras and uses his predecessor’s teachings as a foil for his own commitment to objective and transcendent realities and values. “Protagoras,” Plato writes, “admitting as he does that everyone’s opinion is true, must acknowledge the truth of his opponent’s’ belief about his own belief, where they think he is wrong.”Plato here is arguing that Protagoras view, which he interprets as the claim that whatever a person believes is true, is logically incoherent. His argument against this subjectivist thesis is in the form of a reductio ad absurdum. A reductio argument proves that a thesis is false by showing that it leads to an “absurdity”-in particular, that implies a contradiction, a statement of the form “P and not-P.” This argument form is also therefore called “proof by contradiction”-and it is very handy! In doing formal logic we will study this form of proof, also called “indirect proof” since it is typically used to prove a thesis is true “indirectly” by showing that assuming it to be false leads to a contradiction. The claim is that given the fact of disagreement, subjectivism implies a contradiction and is therefore shown to be false. We begin with what is in effect a “what if”: in premise 1 we’re saying “what if subjectivisms were true.” In the assumption for reductio we aren’t claiming that it is true-we’re saying in effect “let’s pretend…” Let’s try it out the subjectivist thesis and see what happens. If bad things happen, then we know we have to reject it. Most people however aren’t tempted by subjectivism, or by relativism about all propositions whatsoever. Very few people are tempted by relativism when it comes to ordinary, uncontroversial claims. The temptation is to be a relativist about claims that are controversial-which are generally held to be matters of opinion because there doesn’t seem to be any generally accepted, conclusive reason to accept or reject them. These include most notably moral judgments. We will argue in the next chapter, in our discussion of knowledge as justified true belief, that relativism about controversial claims is a consequence of confusing truth with

justification. When it comes to difficult questions, which are disputed, including questions in ethics, metaphysics and theology, there is a lot of disagreement and smart, educated, informed people quite often disagree. When it comes to such claims, people on both sides may have very good reasons for the views they hold. But this is not to say that their views are both true (or that neither are true, or that there is no objective fact of the matter when it comes to such claims). We can have very good reasons for holding beliefs that are false. Indeed we are sometimes justified in holding beliefs that are in fact false. So to this extent it’s alright to be wrong!

(Cornford, Protagoras, Plato and Relativism),(Tanner H. Sewell, Department of Psychology, Virginia Military Institute, Lexington VA, 24450)


Based on the Research that our group conducted about Protagoras, we didn’t believe that “man is the measure of all things” .We believe that god is the measure of all things simply because God is the one who created man. He is the Supreme Being. But we also knew that those words are not enough to contradict him because even Protagoras knew about it. So we the researchers concluded that Protagoras didn’t really mean that man is the measure of all things that is man can do whatever he wanted to do. He just simply said that because man can actually stated his own opinion to a certain topic and what that opinion is, is what an individual believe. Man can do choose whatever he wanted to believe to.


To the succeeding researchers, don’t just focus on a certain source where you will gather information. You must use different tools in getting other information. Doing that will help you to compare different ideas in order for you to create a new one for you.

Another is that, don’t just take the philosophers notion literally. Try to think deeper ideas about it. It can be an idiomatic form or a riddle.

Word Cited

Cornford, Protagoras, Plato and Relativism

Tanner H. Sewell, Department of Psychology, Virginia Military Institute, Lexington VA, 24450


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