“Man Is The Measure Of All Things”: A Critical Analysis Of The Sophist Conception Of Man

Muyiwa Adeniyi Sholarin, Ikedinachi Ayodele Power Wogu, Funke Omole, Benedict Emerenwa Agoha


Central to this article is a basic philosophical concept of the nature of man’ knowledge which exists amongst Protagorians of the sophist era, who postulates that ‘man is the measure of all things’ Our daily experience of human nature however, continues to give us reasons to unlearn much of what has turned out to be prejudices and errors in our conception of man. Consequently, The question “What is Man?” still perplexes us, and the answers we provide to this question often reveal how distorted our vision of history and thought have become over the years. Philosophers and Psychologists who have approached the problem in terms of already accepted views and theories of the nature of man’ knowledge continues to run in to more difficulties. In addition, the absence of direct elaboration to the proposition has given rise to endless controversies about its meaning. This paper shall, via the reconstructive methods of critical analysis in philosophy, examine Protagoras’ postulate of man’s knowledge of man against the Socratic philosophy of what the knowledge of man really is. The study reveals that there is yet a lot to be understood about Man. The reality of the absurdity of knowing and not knowing at the same time is however, identified as one factor that militates against man’s quest towards attaining true knowledge. The paper submits that Protagoras’ maxim about man is simply an opinion which acknowledges the truth of its denial. It follows that you can never know anything the truth of which you fail to attain.


Key Words: Man, Measure, Protagoras, Socratic, Sophist

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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