Socratic Ethics in the Protagoras, Gorgias, and Republic


Abstract
This dissertation analyzes Socratic ethics in three Platonic dialogues: the Protagoras, the Gorgias, and the Republic. The purpose is twofold: 1) to question the standard view that what is the defining characteristic of Socratic ethics in the Protagoras and the Gorgias is its intellectualism and that the Republic represents a correction to, or deviation from, such intellectualism, and 2) to offer an alternative account of Socratic ethics in these dialogues. The alternative account this dissertation proposes is that what makes Socrates a compelling ethical figure is his unique understanding of what constitutes an agent's self-interest. Moreover, the contention will be that the uniqueness of Socrates' ethical views comes into focus when we consider them vis-à-vis the views and concerns of his interlocutors, particularly the sophists
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