Hippocrates Should Pay To Be A Pupil Of Protagoras

1568 Words 7 Pages
Socrates shows that Hippocrates ought to engage in philosophical inquiry, if he is to have strong political ambitions, through engaging with Protagoras. In this essay, I am concerned with reconstructing Socrates’ reasoning behind his conclusion that Hippocrates should not want to study under Protagoras. I will then offer an objection for Hippocrates, and from this draw a conclusion on whether Hippocrates should pay to be a pupil of Protagoras. Socrates’ main argument addressed to Hippocrates, before arriving to question Protagoras is twofold: first he asks what Protagoras is to teach him and how he will benefit. Hippocrates is unable to give a satisfactory response, so Socrates makes the following claim, “That you are about to hand over your …show more content…
Yet, in a situation where the discussion is concerning the politics of the city, they will consider the opinions of all citizens, despite some not having learned about the subject discussed (Prot. 319b). The second objection raised is that e excellence cannot be taught because of the many examples of good men who have bad kids (Prot. 320a). The main formal argument begins with Protagoras’ great speech. Before his great speech, Protagoras commits himself to the notion that virtue can be taught (Prot. 319a), and Socrates, instead of refuting the point as he normally would, gives Protagoras the chance to further make his argument. The great speech is divided into two parts: the myth (320d-324d) and the main argument (324d-328d). He maintains through both parts that virtue is something that can be taught, and the Athenians believe this to be true. Through the great speech, Protagoras is interested in teaching temperance, justice, and piety, not wisdom. Socrates attacks this view …show more content…
This is important in seeing why and to what Hippocrates can raise objections. The first premise (All courageous men are confident), is clear without disagreement (Prot. 349e), yet, it contradicts what Socrates later defines as courage (Prot. 360d). So, the claim should be instead, that all courageous men are confident only in respect to things they do not fear. The next premise (All virtue is honorable) is valid. The assumption made should also leave no doubt, as it follows from the notion that all virtue is honorable. All the wise are confident is a premise that satisfies Protagoras, and he also admits to this being true (Prot. 350a), which is also true of the premise that some confident men are not wise (Prot. 350b). Next, based on the previous premise that some confident men who are not wise, are ignorantly confident, Protagoras’ remarks lead to the claim that the confident men who are not wise are not honorable. Taking this into account and the assumption, the next premise makes sense (No confident man who is not wise is courageous). The notion presented in this conclusion, that all wise men who are confident are courageous, does not seem warranted. Protagoras did not agree to it, and from the coinciding statements, it does not appear to be deduced from them. He asserts this claim at 350c, albeit quickly, he does not seem to be in the position to do so. Protagoras points

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