What does Protagoras mean when he says that "Man is the measure of all things"?

What does Protagoras mean when he says that "Man is the measure of all things"? I'm doing a paper on Protagoras and I would appreciate it if someone could clear this phrase up for me

6 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    "'Man is the measure of all things,' said the Sophist Protagoras (c. 485-410 B.C.). By that he meant that the question of whether a thing is right or wrong, good or bad, must always be considered in relation to a person's needs."

    Source(s): page 62 Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Protagoras was one of the few greek thinkers who did not believe in the pantheon of greek gods. While it would have been difficult politically for him to just come right out and say, "these gods aren't real," he expressed that feeling in the quote you mentioned: that the only thing that matters is the actions of a person, that the gods are irrelevant and have no influence on a person's life.

    He did get in some trouble for his philosophy, and while he had a following he was also frequently criticized for "inciting social disorder" by encouraging people to ignore the gods and live rational lives. An early agnostic :)

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    in the dictum og Protagoras, "man is the measure of all things"

    for me, it talks about the "human being" because only the human being are the rational that God created.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    My interpretation of the phrase is that man is the one who measures. It is possible that I am way off here since I am not familiar with the quote or with the context but based on what you have written that is my answer.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's radical relativism basically

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