David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Philosophy of Education 45 (4):657-673 (2011)
Scholars who have taken interest in Theaetetus' educational theme argue that Plato contrasts an inferior, even dangerous, sophistic education to a superior, philosophical, Socratic education. I explore the contrasting exhortations, methods, ideals and epistemological foundations of Socratic and Protagorean education and suggest that Socrates' treatment of Protagoras as educator is far less dismissive than others claim. Indeed, Plato, in Theaetetus, offers a qualified defence of both Socrates and Protagoras. Socrates and Protagoras each dwell in the middle ground between the extremes presented in the dialogue's digression, which contrasts the life of the philosopher and the life of the courtroom orator. Both Socrates and Protagoras demonstrate a serious engagement with both politics and philosophy. Theodorus presents an educational option in which theory is divorced from politics while an ignoble sophistic education is presented as political but divorced from theory. Protagorean education, in Theaetetus, emerges as superior to a base sophistic education, though it remains inferior to Socratic education
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