Visiting Speakers

Prof. Michael Ferejohn, Duke University

Friday, Nov. 19, 2010, 3:30 p.m., 607 Dale Hall Tower. Everyone is welcome!

Socrates and the Sophists: Plato's Adversaries on the Nature of Justice

Even casual readers of the Republic come away with a fairly clear idea of the basic tenets of the Platonic theory of justice defended in that work. However, in both the Gorgias and the Republic, characters other than Socrates put forward alternative, more cynical, theories that Plato evidently sees as the most formidable rivals to his own. What's more, Plato takes pains to associate these characters and the views about justice they espouse with the Sophistic movement spearheaded by Protagoras and Gorgias. The central task of the paper is to understand the relationship between these alternative theories of justice and the relativistic positions attributed by Plato to Protagoras and Gorgias in other passages.