Identifier

etd-0415102-173827

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Political Science

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

This dissertation is a study of the Greek sophists as teachers of aretê (virtue or human excellence) and a study of the conflict between sophistic and Socratic political values as portrayed in the dialogues of Plato. The first section offers a new definition of the term "sophist" based on ancient sources and attempts to present as clear a picture as is historically possible of the sophists' activities. The second section examines and evaluates Plato's criticisms of the sophists drawing attention especially to the dependence of certain criticisms upon a questionable set of epistemological assumptions about the role of knowledge in ethical action. And the final section describes in detail what the sophists understood aretê to entail and how they went about teaching it.

Date

2002

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Cecil L. Eubanks

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