Article/Publication Details

Protagoras and His Theory of Social Contract

(Original title: Protágoras jako teoretik společenské smlouvy)
Filozofia, 2011, vol. 66, No 3, pp. 258-267.
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Abstract

In his theory of society Protagoras, one of the most influential sophists thinkers, applies a contractarian approach, similar in many respects to those of Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau. Protagoras, unlike Aristotle or Plato, was convinced that individual perceptions and beliefs as well as those of the body political are relative, because there is no uniform ground on which things could be perceived or experienced. He offers an evolutionary account of the development of human species, arguing that society is a result of a contract among its members, based on commonly shared and taught social virtues. On the other hand, Protagoras is not a nihilist: In his account there is still a possibility of an expertise within the polis, related to the good of the particular community.

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