The Limit of Life: The Ethics of Discourse in Plato's Protagoras

Open Access
Drake, Ryan Thomas
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
April 04, 2005
Committee Members:
  • John Sallis, Committee Chair
  • Daniel Joseph Conway, Committee Member
  • Charles Edward Scott, Committee Member
  • Mark Munn, Committee Member
  • Plato
  • discourse
  • measure
  • ethics
  • politics
  • dialectic
  • interpretation
While the guiding question of Plato's Protagoras has to do with what virtue is, the larger question of how people can communicate in such a way as to make progress in searching out the nature of goodness is equally at stake in the dialogue. Concerns about criteria for interpretation, conversation, and oration all form fundamental axes of this work. The present study focuses upon the various forms of discourse in the Protagoras and aims to reveal the ethical and political implications of each within Plato's dialogue. I argue principally that the pursuit of different forms of discourse for learning about virtue must themselves already imply a relation to virtue out of which all philosophical questioning must begin.