Protagorean Relativism

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Such an outcome begs the question as to why relativism is inconsistent. First of all it does not provide a one thing. As Hilary Putnam states if “ ‘X is true relative to a person P’ and are themselves true or false aboslutely’ then it stands to reason that there is an absolute concept of truth which is a truth for me, for you, for another. This point of view and belief as based on Protagorean doctrine is unstable and that the notion is self-refuting.

It also seemed as if Plato wanted to expose Portagorean false areas to show that Protagoras is incapable of addressing the question of knowledge from the right perspective. That Protagoras would be always inclined towards non-objectivity and in favor of the proposal towards continual change. Nevertheless Plato’s dialogue despite analyzing the knowledge question from several angles, was mostly seeking a universal, absolute form, and this is not achieved by the end of the dialogue either. Through the dialectic approch used Plato seemed to want to utilize the Greek approach of arriving to a democratic knowledge, and to thus refute the Portagorean position, whether it relates to perception, to the nature of being or to future use or expert understanding, to arrive to the truth and real wisdom.

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Some positions outline that there are several issues which are not viewing Portagoras’ maxim objectively and these have to do with the fact that the language used by Protagoras is vague and hinting and is not spelling out exactly the definition of his notion. This shows that contemporary analysists are applying their analysis using modern language and methods. In addition relativism would be failing itself because the very fact that it states that truth is relative, if taken objectively, would mean that truth is not relative. Even if Protagorean maxim is false, and Protagoras has to believe it because most people think it is false, and most philosphers think it too, the latter are taking a non-relativistic position of truth and they are also rejecting the state of cosciousness and belief.

Another perspective is that humans are limited and cannot obtain objective truths because of this limitation and that they can only be obtained by an infinite being (if this infinite being exists). On the one hand humans can be objective but they can also not grasp it because there are no objective truths or they are only conveyed through a cultural process. However in order for objectives to be at least of some kind of being, whether true or false or good or bad they have to have a benchmark or a measure somewhere, which probably should be absolute or universal or in flux, in such a way that parameters would give an idea as to reflect if the objective I believe in is one way or the other – otherwise I can be mistaken. If no parameters exist, what is true belief for me is only to me because they are found in my microcosm.


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