Prodicus: Diplomat, Sophist and Teacher of Socrates

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Abstract:

Not much is known about Prodicus of Ceos, though he is mentioned in more than a dozen Platonic dialogues and appears as a character in the Protagoras. In this article I examine the extant evidence about Prodicus from Plato and other ancient authors and show that Plato's attitude toward him was, surprisingly, one of great respect. In fact, Plato suggests that Prodicus was quite literally Socrates' teacher. I argue that by considering the evidence carefully we can determine with some confidence what Socrates probably took from his instruction, namely, an art of making careful distinctions (diairesis), which had important political and philosophical applications.

Keywords: Diaresis; Hercules; Plato; Prodicus; Prodicus of Ceos; Simonides; Sophist

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Political Science, Baylor University, One Bear Place # 97276, Waco, Texas 76798-7276, USA, Email: David_D_Corey@Baylor.edu

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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