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[161a] an imposture. But, perhaps, you think that any offspring of yours ought to be cared for and not put away; or will you bear to see it examined and not get angry if it is taken away from you, though it is your first-born?

Theodorus
Theaetetus will bear it, Socrates, for he is not at all ill-tempered. But for heaven's sake, Socrates, tell me, is all this wrong after all?

Socrates
You are truly fond of argument, Theodorus, and a very good fellow to think that I am a sort of bag full of arguments and can easily pull one out and say that after all the other one was wrong; [161b] but you do not understand what is going on: none of the arguments comes from me, but always from him who is talking with me. I myself know nothing, except just a little, enough to extract an argument from another man who is wise and to receive it fairly. And now I will try to extract this thought from Theaetetus, but not to say anything myself.

Theodorus
That is the better way, Socrates; do as you say.

Socrates
Do you know, then, Theodorus, what amazes me in your friend Protagoras? [161c]

Theodorus
What is it?

Socrates
In general I like his doctrine that what appears to each one is to him, but I am amazed by the beginning of his book. I don't see why he does not say in the beginning of his Truth1 that a pig or a dog-faced baboon or some still stranger creature of those that have sensations is the measure of all things. Then he might have begun to speak to us very imposingly and condescendingly, showing that while we were honoring him like a god for his wisdom, he was after all no better in intellect than any other man, [161d] or, for that matter, than a tadpole. What alternative is there, Theodorus? For if that opinion is true to each person which he acquires through sensation, and no one man can discern another's condition better than he himself, and one man has no better right to investigate whether another's opinion is true or false than he himself, but, as we have said several times, each man is to form his own opinions by himself, and these opinions are always right and true, why in the world, my friend, was Protagoras wise, so that he could rightly be thought worthy [161e] to be the teacher of other men and to be well paid, and why were we ignorant creatures and obliged to go to school to him, if each person is the measure of his own wisdom? Must we not believe that Protagoras was “playing to the gallery” in saying this? I say nothing of the ridicule that I and my science of midwifery deserve in that case,—and, I should say, the whole practice of dialectics, too. For would not the investigation of one another's fancies and opinions, and the attempt to refute them, when each man's must be right, be tedious


1 Truthwas apparently the title, or part of the title, of Protagoras's book.

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 434
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