Journal article

The Fragility of Nihilism: Virtue, Techné, and the Nature of Self Knowledge in Plato’s Gorgias and Protagoras

Dylan van der Schyff

Minerva: an internet journal of philosophy | University of Limerick | Published : 2011


Through interpretive readings of Plato’s Protagoras and Gorgias I demonstrate how the character of Socrates manages to reveal a deep concern for virtue in even his most apparently nihilistic interlocutors. I suggest that these dialogues ask us to consider the possibility of a universal human concern for goodness that transcends or collapses the nomos/phusis distinction––one that must be diligently, even courageously attended to if our lives are to be effectively applied towards a virtuous ideal of self and society. To conclude I contrast my readings with those that see Plato as the stern rationalist––the unwavering proponent of techné––and I open the question of what knowledge of virtue and ..

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