Contradiction and Authority in Gorgias

Dissertation, University of Washington (2002)

This dissertation is a study of the role of contradiction in the three primary extant works of the fifth-century B.C.E. Greek intellectual Gorgias . Contradiction is understood both as Gorgias' opposition to the arguments of others, and as a willingness to incorporate self-contradiction into his own works. It is this combination of elements that makes Gorgias' works non-authoritarian in nature, because they resist the views of others at the same time as they avoid attempting to occupy this position of authority with their own views. This interpretation, that systematic contradiction is the central feature of the thought of Gorgias, is one that helps to explain both his texts and the many competing interpretations they have elicited from scholars
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